At-home COVID-19 Testing: Don’t Sacrifice Accuracy for Convenience When it Matters Most
As the demand for COVID-19 testing has increased due to travel and work-related protocols, new options for a more convenient way to be tested at home seem to also be more prevalent. While this satisfies convenience, it’s important to know that not all COVID-19 tests are the same. Along with making sure you choose the right type of test, it’s also wise to have a professional test you. Whether you’re required to provide a weekly test for your job, need to produce a negative test to travel safely, or you simply need to know what is causing your symptoms, it’s crucial to know how to get the most accurate COVID-19 test results.
COVID-19 Testing Near Me: The Clinic or an At-Home COVID-19 Test?
We already deal with seasonal spikes in illnesses like strep throat, colds, and the flu. Adding COVID-19 to the mix this year has made things even more complicated, especially considering the latest Omicron variant reported out of South Africa in late November 2021. Experts are reporting that patients have symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and body aches and pain. To a non-medical professional, those symptoms could easily be confused as something like the common flu. What’s more, it is possible for co-infection – having both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, for example. This is why accurate testing is critical.
If you start feeling sick this season, your first step should be to rule out COVID-19 as a potential cause. A false negative from an at-home COVID-19 test could expose your loved ones and co-workers to the COVID-19 virus, especially if they are high risk or immunocompromised.
The FDA Alert
There’s a good reason the at-home COVID-19 test may not be the best option. Not all tests are accurate. In October 2021, the FDA issued an alert regarding the potential for false-positive test results. The questionable product is the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test. Some tests were affected by a manufacturing issue that resulted in the likelihood of false positives. False negatives don’t appear to be an issue with these tests.
For now, the FDA has issued a recall. Representatives from Ellume believe at least 2 million tests may be susceptible to inaccurate results. The FDA is working with the company to resolve the issue.
The Consequences of an At-Home COVID-19 Test False Positive
It’s important to know how to avoid false-positive COVID-19 tests. Thinking you have COVID-19 when you really don’t could cause inconveniences. You could miss travel, family gatherings, or even employment.
The Wrong Diagnosis
If you believe you have coronavirus due to an at-home COVID-19 test false positive, you won’t know the true cause of your symptoms. If your actual condition is serious, a misdiagnosis could delay care or even be life threatening.
If you don’t have COVID-19, you can’t spread it to others. However, mistakenly believing you have it, or that you had it in the past, could create a dangerous false sense of security leading you to fail to take proper precautions, such as masking, vaccinating, or distancing, due to believing you now have natural immunity.
The Unnecessary Treatments
Healthcare professionals are using a variety of treatments to help COVID-19 patients survive. As of now, approved treatments include antiviral drugs, such as Remdesivir, and monoclonal antibodies. Treatments that work for COVID-19 may not work for other conditions, so a false positive could lead you to seek treatment that may not be effective for your illness and could cause complications and side effects.
The Best Type of Test: What’s Most Accurate?
When considering getting a COVID-19 test, accuracy is key, not speed. For the greatest accuracy, you’ll want a PCR test. This test uses a nasopharyngeal or nasal sample.
Even if you have an accurate at home COVID-19 test, you could make a mistake while taking your sample. “Make sure you know the caveats of these tests and follow the instructions very closely,” says Dr. Wesley Long, director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist.
The Accuracy You Need: COVID-19 Testing at MD Now
If you opt for an at-home test, it’s best to be sure that your results are legitimate. The physician-led team of healthcare professionals at MD Now can eliminate your worries of testing mistakes and potential false positives. MD Now offers what’s considered the gold standard in COVID testing – the PCR test. These tests are administered quickly, and accurate results are returned within 24-48 hours.
Visit us in one of our more than 55 state-of-the-art clinics across Florida for your COVID-19 test and Know NOW.