At-home Covid-19 tests, also known as self-tests and over-the-counter tests, have become a popular option in the hope to minimize the spread of the virus. While they are accessible, this type of test kit isn’t accurate enough to provide a trustworthy diagnosis. PCR tests like those we perform at Advance ER are precise and effective to know whether your symptoms are due to Covid-19 or another virus such as the flu or strep.
Maintaining the following safety measures helps keep you and your loved ones healthy:
- Getting vaccinated and boosted
- Careful handwashing
- Physical distancing
Knowing how to properly test for Covid-19 is however important so you can quickly isolate if your result is positive and learn what treatment options are available.
At-Home Covid-19 Test Kits Aren’t Reliable
You can purchase rapid antigen tests at pharmacies and drugstores like CVS or Walgreens, online or in stores. As of January 2022, the federal government allows each household to get four at-home test kits for free. At-home Covid-19 tests are less sensitive than PCR tests performed by a medical provider. At-home kits only have an accuracy rate of up to 85 percent.
If you choose to test for Covid-19 at home, make sure to carefully read the instructions before taking your test, as directions can vary depending on which brand you got. Failing to perform one or more of the steps correctly increases the chances of inaccuracy. False negatives can happen when you are asymptomatic. You may also receive a false negative if the virus load in your organism isn’t high enough for the test to notice it, even when you are experiencing symptoms.
Where to Get an Accurate and Comprehensive Test
If you have symptoms or have been exposed to Covid-19, we recommend that you either contact or visit us to get an accurate test. We can also perform tests if your locality, school, or employer requires them. Our tests have the added benefit of testing for flu and strep, which helps us know what type of care you need to recover no matter your immunization status.
If you test positive or experience symptoms, our staff members can discuss what treatment options we have available. If you have Covid-19, we currently offer Merck’s Molnupiravir and Pfizer’s Paxlovid pills, while supplies last. We follow the CDC and FDA guidelines for all Covid-19 matters to provide you with the most up-to-date healthcare.