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As we start to move around again and the COVID-19 virus spreads throughout the country, one way to keep ourselves safe and ensure that we are not speading illness to those around us, is to take Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) to ensure that we are COVID-free.
For many, taking a RAT is a requirement to go to work, travel, enter a high risk environment, see friends or family who have under lying health issues or to go to school.
But, did you know there are some things that you should not do with a RAT?
Well, read on and find out eactly where you might be going wrong when you a RAT.
Remember - stay positive, but test negative!
1. Storing at the wrong temperature
RATs should be kept at 2-30℃ for them to work as intended.
2. Using straight from the fridge
The reagents (essential test kit ingredients) will not work properly at cold temperatures.
3. Using an out-of-date test
Always check the use-by date before using, which you’ll find on the carton.
4. Opening too early
Do NOT open the test items until you are ready to start.
5. Taking the test too soon or too late after exposure
A study, which has yet to be reviewed by experts, suggests RATs cannot detect SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) until at least day two after exposure.
6. Assuming all tests work the same
Some RATs need nasal swabs, others use saliva. The way virus is extracted from the sample, the number of drops to add to the testing device, and the timeframe to read the results differ between brands.
7. Contaminating the test
Do NOT touch the tip of the swab (the soft bit that goes in your nose) with your fingers or allow it to come into contact with other surfaces.
8. Sampling snot
Blow your nose before doing a nasal swab as you don’t want to sample snot. You want to swab the tissue that lines the nasal passages, using the technique below
9. Swabbing at the wrong angle and depth
When inserting the nasal swab, you are not trying to swab the inside of your nostril but the tissue further back in the nasal passages.
10. Continuing with a bloody swab
Blood on the nasal swab will give you an inaccurate result.
11. Eating, drinking, chewing gum, brushing your teeth or smoking before a saliva test
These can give an inaccurate result. So wait 30 minutes before taking a saliva sample.
12. Adding too many or too few drops to the indicator device
Adding the right number of drops will ensure the liquid moves across the test surface in a specific time.
13. Reading the result too early or too late
Read the result at the time listed in the instructions.
Read the test too early and it is likely to give you a false negative result (the test reads negative but you are really positive).
14. Misreading the result
When you read your results (at the correct time):
two lines means you have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2
a line at C (for control) ONLY means the test has worked and you have tested negative
a line at T (for test) (or A for antigen, depending on the kit) but NOT C means your test is faulty. Do another one
no lines also means your test is faulty and you need to repeat it.
15. Disposing of the kit incorrectly
Seal any components of the kit that have come into contact with your nasal or saliva sample (swab, containers, reagents, test device etc) in the plastic bag provided and dispose in the garbage.