Do Lateral Flow Tests Work If You Have Symptoms?
A lot of information online claims to have the answer to the question, “Do lateral flow tests (LFT) work even if you have COVID-19 symptoms?” The question itself is not a straightforward one at that.
There are a few factors that affect the validity of a COVID-19 lateral flow test result of a person with COVID-19 symptoms. How soon you take a lateral test after the presence of symptoms seems to be the most relevant of these factors. The lateral flow test’s brand also plays a role in how reliable your test results should be. This blog post discusses these factors and everything around the topic of taking LFT with symptoms of COVID-19.
Is Lateral Flow Testing Effective If You Have Symptoms?
The answer is both yes and no. It depends on how early on you take a lateral flow test after you first notice COVID-19 symptoms. If you experience COVID-19 symptoms and immediately conduct a lateral flow test on yourself, then there is a high chance that the test results may come out as a false negative. Lateral flow tests are called antigen tests. COVID-19 lateral flow tests detect proteins of the COVID-19 virus. They are specifically sensitive to SARS-CoV-2 protein only.
The first several hours of an infection in a person may not produce detectable amounts of SARS-CoV-2 protein. Therefore, a lateral flow test when symptomatic may yield a false negative result despite the COVID-19 infection. If you have symptoms and suspect being infected, it is advised that you wait another 48 hours before taking a new lateral flow test. By this time, the results will be accurate.
What Should You Know Before Taking a Lateral Flow Test?
There are a few vital pointers you should know before taking any COVID-19 lateral flow test. Here are a few of these pointers to help you better ascertain if lateral flow test results are valid even if you have symptoms of COVID-19:
The key to effective LFT results is using reputable LFT brands only and knowing how soon to administer the test. Do these tests correctly, and your LFT results will always yield reliable results.