Do not use: 4 signs of COVID test tampering and contamination

COVID testing at home is a pretty straightforward process. Test kit? Acquired. One simple swab, and the work has been done. What else is there to worry about?

Here are a few red flags to look out for when using an at-home test kit. If your rapid antigen test checks out for any of the following, our advice is to start fresh with a new one. Save yourself the time, and possibly a confirmation test later on.

1. The test has been used

Too obvious? Perhaps for some, but reports of COVID test-sharing are not entirely unheard of.

The idea is that if a person tests negative, the assay hasn’t been fully activated, and is thus still capable of a new, positive readout. Intranasal contamination, however, is not exactly sanitary, even between family members. Beyond this, a used COVID test is significantly less likely to yield an accurate result.

2. The expiration date has passed

Using an expired COVID test isn’t dangerous, per se, but your results might end up being unreliable. If you’ve already taken the test, only to realize it’s expired after the fact, the CDC recommends taking a confirmatory test with a test still within its use-by date.

3. The packaging has been compromised

Just like with any other food or medical gizmo, you should never use a COVID test that already looks like somebody’s opened it. You should also avoid opening it yourself until you’re actually ready to sit down and self-test.

The same goes for any test kit that appears to include damaged or missing components—a cracked cassette may be relatively harmless, but something like a busted, bent nasal swab might actually be able to do some serious damage. Just toss it and grab a new one.

4. It’s extremely cold

You should never, ever freeze a COVID-19 test. If you live in a colder region, however, the test kit may still end up being exposed to storage temperatures lower than most manufacturer recommendations.

The ideal storage conditions for a COVID test are between 35F and 86F, preferably somewhere dark, dry, and out of the way. If it’s been sitting in a cold car all day, allow your test kit to come up to room temperature before using it inside.

Rapid antigen test kits at no cost

You read the list. You’ve confirmed the worst. Your antigen test kit is kaput. What now?If you’re insured, a brand new COVID-19 test kit is waiting for you right here with us. Simply find your neares

Still have questions?

Gone are the days of crowded waiting rooms, daunting hospitals, and cold exam tables. At Rume, we offer care on your terms, where and when you need it, including telemedicine, drive thrus, and popups. You’ll get quick results and trusted insights.