COVID-19 test myths you shouldn’t believe

COVID-19 test myths you shouldn’t believe

It’s easy to overlook the other crucial instruments we have at our disposal for containing the COVID-19 pandemic when so many individuals are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. Testing is a very crucial element that shouldn’t be disregarded.

Unfortunately, there are many misunderstandings concerning these exams, making it difficult for consumers to distinguish fact from fiction.

Here, professionals dispel some of the most widespread misconceptions about COVID-19 testing and explain how to utilize rapid antigen tests properly. You can read in detail about rapid antigen tests by visiting

COVID-19 test myths you shouldn’t believe

Myth 1: You should only have a COVID-19 test if you are experiencing symptoms

Factual statement: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage testing in a variety of circumstances. One of these situations is undoubtedly when you have COVID-19 symptoms, which may include fever or chills, headache, nausea, and loss of taste or smell, among other problems, whether or not you have had the vaccination.

However, there are more circumstances when testing is necessary. The CDC recommends testing right away, then again five to seven days later if you are unvaccinated and five to seven days after exposure if you are completely vaccinated if you come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

You have a higher chance of getting into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 when you attend big events and spend time in busy indoor areas.

The CDC recommends that if you are unvaccinated and travel inside the United States, you should be tested three to five days later. Even if your test is negative, you should remain at home and practice self-quarantine for seven complete days. Whether you are immunized or not, testing may be necessary both before you depart for abroad and again before you arrive.

Thersa Sweet, Ph.D., MPH, associate teaching professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University in Philadelphia, adds, “I would also advocate at least conducting a fast home test if you are expecting to meet someone who is immunosuppressed or old” to avoid unintentionally infecting them.

Myth 2: Excessive testing is to blame for increases in COVID-19 instances

According to Gigi Kwik Gronvall, PhD, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the manager of the Johns Hopkins Center’s COVID-19 Testing Toolkit, testing is a crucial approach for health professionals to monitor how prevalent the virus is in a community.

Dr. Gronvall claims that while testing has increased our knowledge of instances, additional cases have not resulted from testing.

Myth 2: Excessive testing is to blame for increases in COVID-19 instances.

Some individuals attribute increases in COVID-19 instances to an overabundance of testing, although scientists dispute that theory. Dr. Sweet asserts that if the percentage of positive rapid antigen tests is large, not enough individuals are being tested. “Every spike I have observed recently goes hand in hand with a rise in the % positive, showing that the spikes represent actual increases in the virus in a community,” she continues. Click here to read about Are at-home rapid antigen tests accurate?

Myth 3: PCR rapid antigen tests are usually preferable to antigen rapid antigen tests

The two kinds of testing used to find COVID-19 are distinct. One is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which scans for signs of the virus’ genetic material and is able to detect infection in its early stages. These exams are offered at specific COVID-19 testing facilities, as well as in clinics, hospitals, and other places. Samples are submitted to a lab, which normally returns findings in one to several days.

The second primary kind of diagnostic test is an antigen test, commonly referred to as a fast test, which identifies the presence of a certain molecule that suggests a present viral infection but does not explicitly record it, making it a little less precise. This kind of test is performed at home since results may be obtained quickly.

The ideal test is the one that is easily accessible, according to Melanie Swift, MD, MPH, co-chair of the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group in Rochester, Minnesota, especially for someone who is showing signs of COVID-19 or is more at risk of infection.

Myth 3: PCR rapid antigen tests are usually preferable to antigen rapid antigen tests.

For optimum accuracy, Dr. Swift advises doing either a second antigen test, often 24 to 48 hours later, or a PCR test to confirm if you have a negative result (meaning the test indicates you don’t have COVID-19). This is because the antigen test has the potential to overlook low levels of infection.

According to her, the antigen test is often the best choice. Rapid antigen tests are a useful option for persons without symptoms who wish to be examined before or after traveling or who need to be tested as part of a surveillance program since they can be performed at home, according to Swift.

Myth 4: Testing is really unpleasant since the swab has to enter your nose very deeply

The nasopharynx, or place where your nose meets the top of your throat, is where swabs must be inserted for COVID-19 testing at the start of the pandemic. Since there is where the coronavirus replicates, scientists were certain that if viral activity existed, it would be discovered there.

But because many individuals find it uncomfortable to have a swab inserted far into their nasal passages, testing parameters were altered to include only the middle of the passageway, or the mid-turbinate region, which is less than an inch in. Sweet declares, “This is much more pleasant and simple.”

The most reliable samples are still those collected from the nasopharynx. According to a review study that appeared in PLoS One in July 2021, rapid antigen tests that use a nasopharynx swab are 98 percent accurate, whereas rapid antigen tests that use mid-turbinate or even shallower swabs are between 82 and 88 percent reliable.

However, the capacity to test more individuals compensates for this decreased sensitivity, therefore the study’s authors conclude that adopting a shallower sample is worthwhile.

Myth 5: If a box has two fast rapid antigen tests, you should only use one and keep the other for a later time

Factual statement: A number of the current quick COVID-19 test brands, including the Abbott BinaxNOW and the Quidel QuickVue, are packaged in sets of two.

If one of these rapid antigen tests yields a negative result, you are recommended to perform the second test within three days, allowing at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours to elapse between rapid antigen tests (check the instructions in your kit to verify).

This is due to the possibility of false negative results from antigen testing if you test too early in the course of your illness when your virus levels are too low to be identified. If you do have COVID-19 by the time you do the second test, it should be positive.

(If any of the two rapid antigen tests is positive, contact your doctor and remain at home, and avoid social situations.)

Are at-home rapid antigen tests accurate?

Are at-home rapid antigen tests accurate?

The sensitivity of the at-home antigen testing is not comparable to that of the PCR rapid antigen tests. “However, a positive COVID home test is pretty accurate and ought to be treated as a positive,” stated Alvarado. “This should be viewed as a positive.” However, if the test is performed too early in the course of an illness, it may provide misleading negative results. If you or your kid are exhibiting signs of COVID or have been exposed to the virus, it is in everyone’s best interest to take the necessary measures and retest within a few days.

Are at-home rapid antigen tests accurate?

Does the omicron variety respond to testing that can be done at home?

Rapid antigen tests do not discriminate between the various strains of COVID-19, and there’s no literature that indicates they aren’t accurate with the omicron strain,” said Alvarado. “There’s no research that says they aren’t accurate with the omicron strain.”

Tips for assessing kids

At-home rapid antigen tests are not authorized for youngsters under 2. According to Alvarado, if your kid is under the age of 2 and is exhibiting symptoms, you should see your primary care practitioner in order to have a PCR test performed on them.

“It is important to be honest with a kid while doing any test on them, even an at-home COVID exam,” he stated. “This applies to all rapid antigen tests.” “Remain cool and explain to them in detail what you want to accomplish. Making it into a hands-on experience is another fantastic idea. Ensure that you inform them of what each step entails before you even begin to open the package. Let them experience everything, and have a satisfying prize waiting for them at the conclusion.

If the COVID-19 test results come back positive for either you or your kid, contact your primary care physician or the pediatrician your child sees, put on a mask, and stay away from your close family and friends.

If your kid has positive test results, make sure they are as comfortable as possible. Even if they are showing no signs of illness, kids should continue to stay away from school and other public locations. In the event that they do exhibit symptoms, it is important to keep them hydrated and make sure they are breathing normally. It is OK to provide them with Tylenol or Motrin if they develop a temperature. Always be sure to follow the dosage recommendations on the package. Visit to read about COVID-19 test myths you shouldn’t believe.

Tips for assessing kids

Alvarado has given the following piece of advice: “Monitor symptoms, and if they develop and involve shortness of breath or the inability to get enough oxygen in, be sure to go to your local emergency room.”

When is the best time for me to be tested for COVID-19?

It is recommended that you be tested if you have symptoms or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, medical professionals strongly advise being tested at least 5 days after coming into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you experience symptoms, you should be tested as soon as possible. You can also read about Coronavirus (COVID-19): testing and stay at home advice by clicking here.

It is also advised that you be tested in advance if you are going to see relatives who are immunocompromised, old, or too young to get vaccinated, or if you are going to be at a gathering where you won’t be able to maintain social separation. This was something that was expressed by Alvarado.

7 pointers to help you achieve a precise result

The TGA website has instructions on how to utilize authorized rapid antigen tests, and in order to compile these pointers, we analyzed those instructions. Take into consideration the following:

  • Make sure you verify the date it expires. Do not utilize rapid antigen tests that have passed its expiration date.
  • Before using some rapid antigen tests, they need to be allowed to reach room temperature and sit there for half an hour. Therefore, prepare in advance.
  • If you are going to be collecting a sample using a nasal swab, blow your nose before you do so. If you are going to use a saliva test, you should not eat or drink anything for the previous ten minutes before collecting the sample.
  • Make sure the sample doesn’t become contaminated. No matter the rapid antigen tests you decide to employ, the instructions will likely advise you to clean a flat surface, wash or sanitize, and dry your hands, and then arrange the test materials in a certain manner. It is imperative that you under no circumstances touch the business end of the swab (also known as the soft end that goes in your nose), since doing so will inevitably contaminate it.
7 pointers to help you achieve a precise result
  • 5. Be sure to collect your samples exactly according to the instructions provided. For instance, if you are using a nasal swab, you will be instructed to push it into each nostril for two centimeters, spin it five times, and repeat the process. After the sample has been obtained, it is then added to the chemical solution.
  • 6. Transfer a predetermined amount of the solution to the indicator device in the form of drops. You shouldn’t add anything more like “for good luck.”
  • 7. It is important to read the findings at the precise time that was suggested. For instance, the instructions may direct you to read the result 15 minutes to 20 minutes after applying the solution, with no time in between those two extremes being acceptable. After twenty minutes, the accuracy of the result may no longer be reliable.

What exactly does each different colored line mean?

There are two lines of different colors that need to be found. One is the letter C (the control). This will inform you whether or not the test is functioning accurately. The other option is a test or an activity (antigen). The following is what happens when all of these factors are brought together:

  • Rapid antigen tests are considered to be faulty if the line colored C does not appear. • if the C-colored line appears but the T (or Ag) line does not, your result is negative (you are unlikely to have COVID-19) and the test kit may have expired; if you did not do the test properly. if the C colored line shows and the T (or Ag) line does not.
  • If the C line, as well as the T line (or Ag line), appears, this indicates that your test is positive and that you most likely have COVID-19.

What comes next?

Congratulations are in order if the test comes back negative and you don’t have any symptoms. If you get a negative result but still have symptoms, you should have a PCR test to confirm your suspicions. In the meanwhile, you should try to avoid making contact with other people.

In the event that you get a positive result, you should immediately do a PCR test to confirm the result, and in the meantime, you should self-isolate.