We’ve been dealing with this pandemic for over a year and a half, and to some people, COVID-19 testing still feels like a complete mystery. People are still confused about where to find a testing facility, which test they should take, and how quickly they can get results.
A few of us are especially on the lookout for an easier and quicker technique to determine if we are virus-free or not. And administering an at-home COVID-19 test appears to be an extremely convenient option — especially given that some rapid testing methods provide speedy results.
Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five COVID-19 fast tests that provide real-time results at home, including four that can be supplied without a physician’s prescription.
Is There a Way to Take the Coronavirus Self-Test at Home?
There are various at-home tests available to determine whether you have COVID-19, a coronavirus-caused illness.
They include home collection kits that must be submitted to a laboratory for analysis, as well as a few innovative quick tests that provide results in minutes.
There are two options for self-testing at home:
- Home collection tests: Samples are collected at your home and delivered to a laboratory for analysis; results are usually available within a few days.
- At-home testing: Samples are collected at home, and the test is completed by you; results are available in minutes.
COVID-19 at home test methods have several advantages. For instance, frequent testing helps to catch more cases and, as a result, slow the spread of the virus. Some of the rapid test methods also provide fast results.
On the FDA’s list, home sample collection and test kits are classified as molecular diagnostic tests or antigen diagnostic tests. PCR testing is the most widely known molecular test. The test for the COVID virus will detect multiple targets for the virus.
They both detect infection and are typically performed on nasal or throat swabs. Different testing methods then follow, and each method’s characteristics dictate if the test is reliable and exactly how to use it.
Who Can Use Covid At-Home Tests?
The CDC claims that self-tests are suitable for anyone who is symptomatic regardless of vaccination status.
The tests can also be used by non-vaccinated people who may have been exposed to those who are infected with the virus. The CDC recommends that those who have been vaccinated should additionally follow testing guidelines.
How to Use the Covid-19 at Home Testing
The first step is to collect your samples. Start by cleaning your hands with clean water and soap.
To collect your own nose or saliva samples, open the package and follow the manufacturer’s instructions supplied with the sample collection or test kit. If you do not collect the specimens according to the instructions, your test results might not be accurate.
Once the specimen is collected, send it to a testing facility or use it to complete the self-test as specified in the manufacturer’s instructions.
Conducting the Test
The self-test steps should be done in the sequence presented by the manufacturer.
Additionally, the manufacturer may give additional materials to assist you in performing the test correctly, such as instructional videos and easy reference guides.
After obtaining the results, dispose of the specimen collecting swab and test kit in the bin, wipe any surfaces touched by the specimen and wash your hands.
While a negative test may boost your confidence when it comes to going to work or seeing a family member, experts stress that it does not mean you should stop wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, or taking additional precautions.