Many of us have taken a rapid antigen test (RAT) but how many of us are using them correctly?
Here are 15 things to avoid if you want to use the RAT correctly.
- Storing at the wrong temperature: RAT’s should be kept at 2-30⁰c for them to work properly.
- Using straight from the fridge: will not work at cold temperatures. Let them sit for 30mins out of the fridge before using.
- Using an out-of-date test: always check the use by date before using.
- Opening too early: do NOT open the test until you will take it.
- Taking the test too soon or too late: studies show that it takes 2 days after exposure to show the result. It cannot detect the virus later than 7 or 8 days, so don’t wait too long.
- Assuming all tests work the same: some RAT tests need nasal swabs, some use saliva. Please read the instructions clearly.
- Contaminating the test: do NOT touch the tip of the swab with your fingers or any surfaces. It only goes in your nose.
- Sampling snot: blow your nose before taking the test as you don’t want sample snot.
- Swabbing at the wrong angle and depth: When inserting the nasal swab, you are not trying to swab the inside of your nostril but the tissue further back in the nasal passages. So rather than going directly upwards with the swab, try to go horizontally and about 2-3 centimetres back. Then rotate the swab gently against the walls of the nasal passage the exact number of times your test recommends. Repeat on the other side.
- Blood on the nasal Swab: will give you an inaccurate result. Discard the test and do another when bleeding has stopped, or swab only on the side that is not bleeding. Don’t use a test that requires nasal swabbing if you are prone to nose bleeds. Use a saliva test instead.
- Eating, drinking, chewing gum, brushing your teeth, or smoking before a saliva test: wait 30 mins after.
- Adding too many or too few drops to the indicator device
- Reading the results too early or too late: read the result at the time listed in the instructions
- Misreading the results: When you read your results (at the correct time):
- two lines means you have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2
- a line at C (for control) ONLY means the test has worked and you have tested negative
- a line at T (for test) (or A for antigen, depending on the kit) but NOT C means your test is faulty. Do another one
- no lines also means your test is faulty and you need to repeat it.
- Disposing of the kit incorrectly: seal any components of the kit that have come into contact with your nasal or saliva sample in a plastic bag and dispose in the garbage.
If you follow these 15 rules, you should get an accurate reading.
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We hope you all stay safe