Tips to ensure more accurate results with your Home Rapid COVID Tests

DENVER (KDVR) – As free COVID rapid tests from the federal government start arriving in Coloradans’ mailboxes, many are wondering how well they actually work.

Even researchers say that there is no guarantee you will get an accurate result.

Now, don’t think, “Then what’s the point of using them?” because they are truly one of the best tools you and your family have when it comes to detecting COVID.

According to the experts at HealthOne in Denver, if you get a positive result with a rapid at-home test, you can be 99% assured that it’s a real positive test.

However, if you get a negative test result, the accuracy is only between 60% and 70%, meaning you can have a 30% to 40% chance of it being a false negative.

So what should you do?

Experts say if you’re really worried about having acute COVID, you might want to do another quick test in a day or two.

“The challenge with this virus is that you can have it profoundly without any symptoms, so there can be a period of two to three days before you develop symptoms and two to three days after your test may be more positive. So if you take your medicine too soon, possibly before you start to have symptoms, you may not have a detectable viral load. So checking back in a day or two if you’re really worried can be very valuable,” explains Dr. Scott Joy, medical director of HealthOne Physician Services Group.

According to Joy, if you are still not convinced, you can go for a more specific PCR test, which is considered the gold standard.

Joy explains PCR tests tend to detect the virus in your nose – which can persist for several weeks.

In this case, rapid tests are considered to be a better indication of the likelihood of infection.

As for how you should use a rapid at-home test, the advice given by the Food and Drug Administration is to just pick your nose.

Many people have picked their throat first and then their nose, as some experts believe it will give a more accurate result.

The Denver-based doctors do not endorse that method.

“I don’t recommend going beyond what’s recommended, just because that keeps it true to proven scientific principles,” Joy said.

It’s still unclear how long a person can be infected with COVID, but according to Joy, the most contagious period is two to three days before symptoms appear and two to three days after.

Research shows that saliva testing detects COVID 100% compared to nose picking, which typically detects 86% of confirmed cases. Tips to ensure more accurate results with your Home Rapid COVID Tests

Tom Vazquez

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