Covid Lateral Flow Testing!

As of a few weeks ago, all NHS staff are now being encouraged to take twice weekly Covid-19 tests, to test for the Covid-19 antigen at home, quickly. I thought I would share my first experience of taking the test.  

When I went to collect the test, I was given enough to use twice a week for 12 weeks and registered to use them. I was originally under the impression it was a saliva test but in actual fact it was still a swab, just only a nose one. 

The kit came with 12 of everything: the test, the swab, the fluid, the test tube and test tube lid. To start you put 6 drops of fluid in the test tube and prepare the test for use. After blowing your nose, you then put the swab about 1 and a half inches inside, for 10 seconds in each nostril, whilst turning. Once complete, you then put the swab in the fluid and swirl for 10 seconds whilst squeezing out fluid and squeezing the side. Then apply the lid and add 2 drops onto the test, before waiting exactly 30 minutes for the result. 

The test reads like a simple pregnancy test with 1 line for the control and 1 line for the test. A false test happens when there is no control line, regardless of whether the test line is present and a repeat should be taken. A negative result shows if the control line is singularly there. If two lines are there, it is a positive result, however the false positive rate is high so it's not 100% accurate. If you get a positive result, you are expected to isolate and organise a traditional (PCR) Covid-19 test, only returning to work when this is negative or after a 2 week isolation period. 

I was actually really nervous when I was about to do it. For some reason I had it in my head that I might be positive, despite being completely asymptomatic. The nose swab was uncomfortable. I wouldn't say it was painful at all, but it made me cough - strangely - and also very sneezy! My eyes watered a lot afterwards so I can totally understand what people mean now. 

In the end, my first result was negative so I could still go to least for another 2 days! It also made me feel a lot more comfortable about travelling home for Christmas. Even though my family house have tested positive for Covid-19 and have therefore had the infection, I felt safer, especially being around my grandma. I'm very grateful this is now an option and gives us much more comfort in providing care and being around loved ones.