What Is a Lateral Flow Test?

Posted by on July 22, 2021 in Hazards, Issues & Diseases, Health with 0 Comments

Lateral flow tests aid in the identification of those who have COVID-19 but do not show any symptoms. They are different from other tests such as the PCR and antigen.

Whether you have no symptoms but suspect you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, or you are suspicious of a new continuous cough, lateral flow tests make it easy to identify whether you have the virus or not.

In this guide, we're going to provide readers with a full breakdown of what lateral flow tests are, why they are important, and how to carry them out.

How to take a lateral flow test

If you have never taken a lateral flow test before, you may be wondering exactly what it involves and how quickly you can expect results.

In the UK, lateral flow tests are provided free of charge by the NHS and you can apply for them online to take at home. Many people prefer taking tests for coronavirus at home since they avoid potentially passing on the virus by visiting a testing centre.

About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not experience any symptoms at all, which makes it especially important to get tested if you suspect you have been in contact with somebody who has the virus.

To ensure you are not infected, you should do a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days). Self-isolation helps stop the spread of the virus if people test positive.

What you need to know about rapid lateral flow tests

Patients who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 should undergo a rapid lateral flow test.

A long cotton bud (swab) is usually rubbed over your tonsils (or where they would have been) and inside your nose.

With the use of a device similar to a pregnancy test, a quick result can be obtained. Rapid lateral flow tests can be done either at home or at a site offering them.

Rapid tests are 99.9% accurate, according to research. Therefore, a false positive (where a positive result is actually negative) is extremely unlikely.

You will then need to isolate yourself and anyone you live with if you test positive for the timeframe advised. Failure to self-isolate will put other people at risk of becoming seriously ill.

Who is eligible for a lateral flow test?

Anybody who does not have symptoms of coronavirus but has been in contact with somebody who has the virus or suspects they have it, can get a lateral flow test.

You can order tests online via the NHS website following an easy process which includes entering some basic information along with details of your address.

For those that decide to do tests at home, you should report your results over the phone or online as it is important for the NHS to keep track of growing coronavirus infection numbers.

Can I pick up tests for at home?

You may be able to pick up lateral flow tests from a collection point located close to your home.

From the 3rd of July 2021, some testing sites in the UK are offering this option to those who wish to test themselves from the comfort of their home. You can also pick up these tests from a nominated pharmacy and even community run points inclusive of libraries, for example.

Is the test easy to take?

A lateral flow test is very easy and straightforward to take; however, you will need to follow the instructions provided to ensure an accurate result.

As mentioned above, it involves using a swab on the tonsils and in the nostril then depositing the liquid into a small vial.

You will then put a couple of drops on to the testing stick which will tell you whether you have the virus or not after 30 minutes.

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