How to Do a Lateral Flow Test at Home
Home Lateral flow tests have made Covid-19 testing easier and more convenient. When people use the lateral flow tests at home, they get to test for Covid in the comfort of their homes or on the go.
Further, the use of the lateral flow Covid-19 test at home is also safer for those who may want to avoid public places and for the infected who wouldn’t want to spread the virus to others. Such people can now order a lateral flow test at home and avoid unnecessary travel and exposure at test centres.
If you’re wondering how the at-home lateral flow Covid-19 test works, you’re in luck as this article gives you a step-by-step guide on how you can do the rapid lateral flow test at home and the benefits of at-home testing.
Benefits of Home Testing for Covid-19
Using lateral flow Covid-19 tests at home has many benefits, as explained below
Helps contain the spread of the Covid-19 infection - Home Covid-19 testing helps reduce the spread of the Covid-19 infection for those infected, as they can test anywhere and immediately self-isolate if they test positive. Besides, such people do not need to travel to test centres or healthcare facilities to get tested
Regular testing - Another benefit of using the flow test kits at home is that they give people numerous opportunities to regularly test for Covid-19. Since you do the test in the comfort of your home, you can test as many times as you want, which is very crucial in containing the spread of the virus.
Privacy- At-home lateral flow testing kits also provide privacy for people who would want to do the test discreetly
Safe and comfortable environment - Another benefit is that the test is done in a safe, familiar and comfortable environment which is very important for children and other patients who would want to do the test in familiar surroundings
Safe for those with mobility issues - At -home lateral flow testing is suitable for those who may be sick or have mobility issues. Even those who are very far from public testing services and centres can still use at-home rapid antigen tests, since the kits come with detailed instructions and everything one needs to administer the test on their own.
Main Steps to Do a Lateral Flow Test at Home
The lateral flow test analyses a sample to detect if there are certain proteins or antigens located on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Rapid antigen tests come highly recommended for both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing.
Notably, the NHS provides free lateral flow tests for specific groups of people, including:
- Patients in hospitals
- People who work in healthcare or social care
- People with health conditions that are eligible for Covid-19 treatments
If you aren’t eligible for the free NHS rapid antigen test, you can still get a FlowFlex Covid-19 test plus other lateral flow tests from street pharmacies or private test providers such as CovidTests.
To take the lateral flow test at home, follow the below steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and water and check the contents of the test to ensure nothing is missing or damaged
- Read the testing guidance instructions provided on the kit carefully before taking the swab. There are different types of lateral flow testing kits. Some use nasal samples, while others use samples from the back of the throat. Depending on which test you’re using, use the provided swab to take the sample.
- Dip the swab into the extraction liquid and squeeze a small amount of the solution onto the rapid tests paper pad
- Check the waiting time on the testing guidance instructions and wait for the results. The results will be ready in 15 to 20 minutes
To interpret the results, check for coloured lines on both the control and test bands. A negative result is shown by a coloured line on the control line, while a positive result is shown by two coloured lines on both the control and test bands. In case there is no coloured line on the control line, the result is said to be void and must be repeated.
What to Do if Your Lateral Flow Test Result Is Positive
If your lateral flow test result is positive, you should self-isolate at home immediately and avoid contact with people for at least five days. You should also cease visiting crowded places or those at a higher risk of getting infected with the virus, such as people in care homes or those who are sick. If you must go outdoors, ensure you wear a face mask and maintain a safe social distance.
This advice also applies to those with Covid-19 symptoms, even if their rapid antigen test results are negative. To confirm the negative lateral flow test, another LFT test can be taken after 48 hours.