Taking a coronavirus test is critical to preventing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. With the alarming rise in cases and the emergence of various variants, people can quickly become concerned if they suddenly feel any of the virus’s symptoms, especially if they have been exposed to someone suspected or confirmed to have an active coronavirus infection.
In addition to self-isolation, another way to get peace of mind is by having a covid-19 home testing kit.
What is a home COVID-19 test?
Home COVID tests, over-the-counter tests (OTC), or at-home tests are tests that people can take from the comfort of their home or anywhere outside an official testing site. It is one of the many options for detecting the virus that causes COVID-19 and is more convenient than laboratory-based and point-of-care tests.
At-home COVID tests come in two forms: molecular and antigen tests. However, the latter is the most commonly used option for home COVID testing.
Antigen Testing at Home
Rapid antigen tests can detect viral antigens in the body, done typically via nasal swabs. While it is less accurate than the PCR test, it is a useful screening measure.
Steps to Follow When Taking at-home COVID-19 test
Before taking an at-home test, the best guidance is to check or follow the package insert or the manufacturer’s instructions for use before using the test. Every at-home test might differ in directions and how it works.
It is usual for people who might be anxious about taking the test for the first time to feel nervous and confused. Fortunately, there are many resources available. People can talk to a healthcare provider for questions about the test or results. If the test is brought to a drugstore, pharmacists can help and partake knowledge.
There are also videos on the internet by the test manufacturer that can walk people through the testing process. But take note to avoid watching a video for one test and considering it fits all tests. Here are the steps to follow when taking the at-home COVID-19 test:
Preparing to Collect the Sample
- Wash the hands for 20 seconds or more.
- Disinfect any surface where you plan to put the testing kits.
- Ensure to open testing materials only when it is time for us.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions on taking a sample: either a nasal or saliva specimen.
- Wait for the instructed amount of time before looking at the results. There are instances where results might appear incorrect when read too soon or too late.
- Under no circumstances should you reuse testing kits. If another test is necessary, purchase another one.
- When discarding all samples and testing materials, sanitize surfaces used during testing.
If an individual fails to collect specimens as instructed, test results might be incorrect. In case of an invalid result or error on the home COVID test, check for instructions in the testing package, or contact the manufacturer for help.
Why You Should Self-Test
Self-tests are a vital risk-reduction measure, along with getting fully vaccinated, wearing a mask, and physical distancing, that can prevent the chance of viral transmission. Taking one is especially important when a person is asymptomatic. Asymptomatic are people who carry the virus but do not show symptoms of it.
If you test positive for COVID-19, immediately self-isolate and follow government guidelines. Advise individuals you have been in direct or close contact with for potential COVID-19 infection.
If you test negative for COVID-19, it is likely that you are not carrying the virus and are infectious at the time the test was taken. Nonetheless, a negative result does not guarantee that you do not have coronavirus.
Are you looking for a testing provider?
Harley Medic Global is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.