Here are 8 at-Home COVID–19 rapid testing tips

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 12:26 PM EST
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JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. (WBNG) -- For much of the pandemic, testing for COVID–19 was mostly done by healthcare professionals.

Now, over two years into the pandemic, at -home rapid tests are available to the public and are also a large part of many municipalities’ strategy to reduce infections.

However, with consumers instituting their own at-home COVID-19 test, the potential for an inaccurate result is possible if it is not administered properly. There are ways to test effectively and with the help of infectious disease physician, Dr. Douglas MacQueen, we share some below.

  • Step 1: Check the expiration date.
  • Step 2: Check for any recalls for the test that you have. You can do that by visiting the Federal and Drug Administration’s website here.
  • Step 3: Wash your hands and make sure the testing area is clean and disinfected. According to Dr. MacQueen, “there’s a possibility that you could have particles of the virus or another virus on your skin that cross-reacts with that antigen test. Let’s say you’re collecting it and you get your hands on the swab; that could cause a false positive result on the test meaning you don’t have COVID-19 but you have some other coronavirus on your hand from when you wiped your nose or your kid’s nose and then you got it on a swab and the test detects that.”
  • Step 4: Read all the directions before administering the test.
  • Step 5: Layout all the materials in your rapid test kit.
  • Step 6: Identify in the instructions the type of nasal swab you will need to do and for how long. According to Dr. MacQueen there are usually “mainly two options: one is a swab inside of your nostril which is tolerable. The other is deep into your nose. If the test you bought requires that you do – I recommend you try to get as far back there as possible. Whether it’s back in the nose or just to the front of the nostril, usually twisting the swab three or four times or however many times they recommend in your kit is important to try to get viral particles if they’re present onto that swab. Some of them may say if you have mucous discharge, runny nose, you may have to blow your nose ahead of time.”
  • Step 7: Adhere to the time for each phase of the test and pay very close attention to the results. Dr. MacQueen says “Interpreting the results can be hard. A lot of them report like a pregnancy test where a little band starts to change color. If anyone has gone through that, trying to decipher the pregnancy test and seeing if it is positive can be a little bit tricky. So sometimes, you just need to wait a little bit and let the line develop fully on this COVID tests.”
  • Step 8: If you test positive – make sure to call the local health department and report the result. According to Heather Ryan, a Public Health Representative at the Broome County Health Department, anyone who tests positive should visit “There is a List of resources on COVID-19. One of them is to report a home test to us. They should click on that button and let us know they had a positive test so we can issue them their isolation order.” This document will detail legally how many days you will be required to isolate which you can share with an employer.