If you want to do a COVID-19 test yourself, it’s important to do it right. You can get the best results if you follow the instructions and use the correct equipment.
You can find at-home tests in pharmacies and other retail stores, and some are covered by private health insurance. You can also find free or low-cost tests at community testing sites and through your local health department.
Using an at-home COVID-19 test can help you prevent infection, especially if you are traveling or visiting people with coronavirus. These tests are called rapid antigen (Ag or RAT) tests and give you a result in about 15-20 minutes.
They aren’t as sensitive as PCR tests, but they’re convenient and affordable. Besides being used to identify a person with COVID-19, these tests are also useful if you’ve recently been vaccinated and want to check your immunity.
A COVID-19 lateral flow test works by mixing your sample with a liquid buffer solution and then allowing it to pass through a tube into a machine. The buffer helps the LFT test detect proteins in the body that may indicate a COVID-19 infection.
When you test with an at-home COVID-19 test, the first thing you need to do is wash your hands thoroughly and dry them completely. You should also wipe any surfaces where you’re going to place the sample, such as countertops, floors or curtains.
Next, you’ll swab one nostril with the COVID-19 test strip or card and wait about 15 minutes for the result to come up. If the indicator area on the test strip or card changes color, you have a positive COVID-19 test result.
In some cases, you might need to repeat the COVID-19 test because the control line on the test is not visible or is too dim. If the control line is not visible or too dim, you have an invalid test result and should take another test within 48 hours.
Doing an at-home COVID-19 test is easy, just follow the directions.
You can use a test kit that comes with a swab or nasal spray, or you can purchase it online or at your local pharmacy. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using it and follow the instructions to the letter.
If you’re not sure how to use the at-home COVID-19 test or if you’re confused about what the result means, ask your healthcare provider for advice. Your doctor can help you understand your COVID-19 test result and how to prevent false negative results.
There are several types of COVID-19 tests, but the most common are antigen and PCR tests. An antigen test looks for proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19, while a PCR test looks for genetic material that might indicate a COVID-19 infection.
What are the differences between an antigen and PCR test?
Antigen tests can be less sensitive than PCR tests, and they may not detect the same amount of viral particles that a PCR test will. This can make the antigen test more likely to give a false negative result when you’ve been vaccinated.