COVID-19 testing has come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic when the first tests were issued. Now, you don't necessarily have to go to an official testing site to be tested for COVID-19. There are at-home tests you can take in the comfort of your own home, and without the concern that you'll spread COVID-19 to someone while you're out getting a test in public. These at-home tests can be quite accurate, but there are some steps you need to take to ensure their accuracy.
Swab your nose as directed.
Having a sore throat has become a fairly common symptom with the more recent strains of COVID-19. Perhaps this is why some people have begun swabbing their throats, and not their nostrils when taking at-home COVID-19 tests. But as logical as this substitution might seem, it is not a wise idea. COVID-19 tests are not designed to be used on saliva or mucus in the back of your throat. They are designed based on the number of viral particles typically found in the nose and nasal passages of an infected person. So, you really do need to swab inside your nostrils, as instructed on the test box or insert, rather than swabbing the back of your throat. Your test results will be more accurate with this approach.
Sticking a swab into your nostril is not comfortable. As a result, many people do not push the swab in as deeply as they could in an effort to avoid discomfort. But if you don't swab deep enough in your nostril, you might not gather enough mucus for an accurate test. Make sure you are inserting the swab until you feel some resistance in your nostril. Swirl it around for as long as is recommended on the test too. Don't cut the time short.
Wait for the recommended period of time.
If you add your mucus to the test and don't see a line come up, you might just assume your test is negative. But most at-home tests have a waiting period. Your test instructions may tell you to wait 10 or 15 minutes before reading the test. This is to ensure the results are as accurate as possible. Don't skimp on the waiting period. A negative result before time is up may not be a true negative.
With the tips above, you can increase the accuracy of your at-home COVID-19 tests. Talk to a pharmacist for more tips and advice on taking COVID-19 tests.