Stuff You Should Know

Rapid Testing

There are 3 things to remember if you want accurate results from your at-home rapid test:


1. Swab the throat AND nose.

The People’s CDC joins state health departments in UK, Canada, Australia, and other countries who recommend swabbing the throat as well as nostrils when you do a rapid test. It’s not in the box instructions, but you’re more likely to catch the covid germs.

2. Test multiple times, 48 hours apart.

A one-off rapid test is NOT reliable (unless it’s positive). It only has a 9% chance to catch asymptomatic COVID, and a 60% chance for symptomatic COVID. This recent study found out your results are better if you add more tests with a 48-hour interval between.


Symptomatic – 2 tests:

(have at least one symptom)

Asymptomatic – 3 tests:

(no symptoms)

Nose and throat swab
Wait 48 hours
Nose and throat swab
Wait 48 hours
Nose and throat swab

3. Follow directions very carefully!

A shocking number of rapid tests are done incorrectly. These are fussy, fiddly little science kits and the instructions aren’t always as clear as they could be. So be super careful to follow all instructions exactly!

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