Now that we have learned how to rearrange our lives with COVID in the mix, we are beginning to become complacent. A pandemic that hit in the beginning of 2020 has now resulted in many of us becoming unconcerned with the virus. You probably know at least one person who had COVID at some point in the past two years. Undoubtedly, you will know many more if we fail to remain vigilant against this killer virus! In addition to maintaining some distance between yourself and others and wearing a mask when you leave your home, you should order and learn how to use a FREE self-test or FREE at-home covid test.
What is a Self-Test or At-Home Test?
Self-tests, or at-home tests, for COVID-19 are easy to administer to yourself or others in your household. The tests provide fast results and you can take it with you anywhere you may go! These tests detect current infection of COVID-19. These tests are called “home tests” or “at-home tests”, or “over-the-counter tests”. You get your test result in a matter of minutes, as opposed to lab-based tests that may take days to get your result. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, you should consider getting vaccinated (free too), wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and take self-tests. You should keep in mind that self-tests do not identify covid antibodies. Additionally, these self-tests do not measure your immunity levels.
When Should I Take an At-Home COVID-19 Test?
If you show any COVID-19 symptoms, then you should take the self-test immediately. If you know that you were in contact with someone who has COVID-19, then you should take the self-test 4-5 days after your exposure. If you test negative for COVID-19, then you should think about getting tested again in 2-3 days after your first test if you know you have been around someone with the virus.
If you will be participating in an indoor event or gathering, you should get tested immediately prior to the event or as close to the start time of the event as possible. This is very important to do! ALWAYS before you attend a gathering with seniors, immunocompromised individuals, individuals who are at risk of severe illness, or children who are not vaccinated yet, please test yourself to prevent infecting them with the potentially deadly virus!
How Can I Get an At-Home COVID-19 Test?
If you want to get an at-home COVID-19 test, then you may order free tests at COVIDtests.gov. Additionally, you can find free tests at many local county and state health departments in your area. You may purchase tests online or in pharmacies, along with retail department stores. In addition, some private health insurance providers may provide compensation for the cost of buying self-test kits. Please be certain, if you get your own testing kit that it is one of those approved for delivering accurate results. If you cannot get a self-test when you require it, then you could visit a community testing center or contact your local health department for an alternate option.
How Can I Use an At-Home COVID-19 Test?
You should read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully prior to conducting the test.
What Do My Test Results Mean?
If your test is positive, then that means that the test identified the virus and you have an infection. You should stay home for at least 5 days and self-isolate from other members in your home. Make sure to inform your close contacts and wear a mask around others. If available, it is recommended that you wear a N95 or KN95 mask. Make sure you keep an eye on any symptoms. If you have significant symptoms (sever cough, elevated temperature, etc.), then you must contact your physician or go to an emergency room at once. You should tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. If your symptoms get worse or you have any questions about your self-isolation, then your doctor will know what to do.
If your test is negative, then the test did not identify the virus. But, it does not rule out an infection yet. There are some self-tests that you need to use in a series, or serial testing. You should consider repeating the test 1-2 days later. Several negative tests will increase your confidence in knowing that you do not have the virus. If you think that your test result might be wrong, then you should reach out to the test manufacturer for help. Additionally, you should think about taking another self-test or reaching out to your healthcare provider for assistance.
Can I Trust The Results of a Self-Testing Kit?
You should know that the self-tests are highly dependable. However, negative results do not eliminate the possibility of a COVID-19 infection as the test is accurate only at the moment it is administered. If you know you have been exposed, please re-test in 3-5 days!
Should I Report The Test Results From A Self-Test?
The CDC strongly advises everyone who takes a self-test to report any positive results to their doctor immediately! Healthcare providers can deliver appropriate care to that those who test positive for COVID-19. This care includes specific treatments and, if the situation calls for it, hospitalization.
Wrapping up, you should think about using the self-test kit at home. They are really beneficial, especially as things continue to return to “normal” and we interact with more people at various locations. Many people have learned to live in harmony with COVID-19. You can take at-home tests wherever you are. Make sure to contact your healthcare provider if you show any symptoms of the illness or if you get a positive result. Remember that this is not over. Do not get complacent.