Friday 1 December 2023

How to use COVID-19 Rapid Lateral Flow Tests

 **Collaborative Post**

Did you know that 1 in 3 individuals who have contracted the SARS-Cov-2 virus do not know that they are covid 19 positive? The main reason why that has been happening is that 1 of the three infected people does not show any symptoms. That means you can only be sure you have not contracted the virus by taking a test. 

Tests are crucial in the war against covid 19 and should happen regularly. Regular testing helps to slow down the rate of infections. They also help individuals safeguard the most vulnerable members of their families or the community. The purpose to get lateral flow testing kits from the most reliable providers in the market and test yourself in the most convenient way. 

Initially, tests could only happen in healthcare facilities that have well-equipped laboratories. People would queue for hours to get their results. Today, we are privileged to take tests by ourselves in the comfort of our homes. Isn't that great? This article guides you on how to take the tests. 

Let's delve in. 

Who Are Lateral Flow Tests Suitable For?

Generally, lateral flow tests are most suitable for asymptomatic individuals or people with mild covid 19 symptoms. They are an effective screening tool that helps to identify people carrying the virus, especially when rapid results are needed. The tests are recommended for adults aged 18 years and above and adolescents aged 12 to 17, as they can self-test with adult supervision. Also, children under 12 can get tested; however, the process should be done by adults.

Since the introduction of covid 19 vaccines, schools and organizations began to open. Most movement restrictions were lifted to allow people to move on with their lives. COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests are suitable for regular or routine screening of students, healthcare workers, and people in high-risk environments. Whenever there are outbreaks, lateral flow tests come in handy to help healthcare workers quickly identify and isolate positive individuals. 

Steps to Follow When Using COVID-19 Rapid Lateral Flow Tests

COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests have proven to be reliable when used effectively. In a study conducted in the UK, 95% of the tests were effective when done at the genesis of the symptoms. Below is the procedure you need to adhere to when testing to get the right results. 

Prepare Your Test Area

Ensure you have a mirror, surface cleaner, tissues, a timer, soap or hand sanitizer, and warm water. Avoid eating for about 30 minutes before taking the test. 

Carefully read the instructions provided by the manufacturer in the test kit. You can also look for more guidance on the videos available online. Clear and clean a flat surface before placing the test kit on it. Ensure it is dry to avoid interference from other fluids during the test. Take around 20 seconds to wash your hands using warm water and soap. You could also use a hand sanitizer. Check the contents of the test kits to ensure nothing is missing, broken, or damaged. Remember to rewash your hands and clean the surface if you are doing more than one test. 

Set Up Your Tests

Remove the strip from the sealed bag and place it on a flat surface. Place the tube safely in the extraction tube holder inside the box. Twist the sachet to snap open, and be careful to avoid spilling the liquid. Gently squeeze the liquid in the extraction tube and put the sachet in the waste bag provided.

Once you've opened the test strip, ensure you are done testing before 30 minutes are over. Blow your nose gently into a tissue and safely discard it. Wash your hands again, then get the swab from the sealed wrapper. Look for the soft fabric tip, but do not touch it, then gently remove the swab. 

Take Your Swab Sample

Keep your mouth wide open so you can easily rub the tip of the fabric over both tonsils. Use a touch or mirror to ensure good contact on each side. Place the same swab on your nostril. Go up your nose until there is a slight resistance and swab into it, making 10 complete circles. Avoid putting any form of force, especially once you start feeling uncomfortable. Also, avoid inserting it deeper once you start feeling pain or resistance. 

Processing the Swab Sample

Get the extraction tube and put the tip of the fabric into it to get into the liquid. Forcefully press the tip against the inner edge of the extraction tube. Rotate the swab for not less than 15 seconds. During this process, you should successfully transfer your sample into the liquid. While removing the swab, pinch the extraction tube against your swab to ensure you have removed all the liquid from the soft tip of the swab. After that, put the used swab in the waste bag provided. Finally, seal the extraction tube tightly using the cap to avoid leakage. Again, remember to wash your hands after completing this step. 

Put the test kit on a flat surface, squeeze the extraction tube gently, and put 2 liquid drops in the specimen well on the strip. At this point, you set the timer to 30 minutes to read the results. If your sample is COVID-19 positive, you will see two lines in the test region. If the results are negative, you will only see one coloured line on the control region. Testing positive requires you to self-isolate to avoid spreading the virus.


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