COVID-19 testing is important for your health and public safety. Since the global pandemic began, healthcare professionals have shown people the importance of testing. Individuals in the UK continue to rely on different ways of testing. That said, learning how to keep the tests properly is important. Back in the day, we only had PCR tests. They required individuals to get tested in healthcare facilities. To add to that, the facilities had to have well-equipped laboratories.
Today, people no longer have to rely on laboratories. Lateral flow tests by CovidTests.co.uk are part of the new inventions that made work easier. These are rapid tests that individuals can buy and test themselves without going to a healthcare facility. It is important to understand that you risk getting inaccurate results if you don’t store your rapid tests properly. So, how do you store them? Also, how do you ensure they stay in good condition?
Here is all you need to know.
How Does Poor Storage Affect Lateral Flow Tests?
COVID-19 vaccines and rapid tests have been at the forefront of preventing the spread of the virus. When it comes to the validity of lateral flow tests, temperature change has been termed as the main culprit affecting their validity. That means your test results can be disregarded if you took them using an improperly stored rapid test. Here is why.
Medical health professionals say that if you expose your test kits to very high temperatures, you may get negative results when you have COVID-19. High temperatures can permanently damage the reagent chemicals, affecting their sensitivity. The reagents contain proteins that are sensitive to heat. That is the same situation that happens with an egg. Heat denatures the proteins in the egg.
On the other hand, cold temperatures can also damage the tests, giving false results. However, the damage in this case is temporary. So long as the liquid in the test kit does not get to the point of freezing. You can warm them back to room temperature, and after running the test, it can work. So clearly, the biggest enemy here is too much heat. The damage becomes irreversible. Infected people who use damaged kits get negative results, which can put a lot of people’s lives in danger. In England, 39,017 new virus tests were reported, 7 days towards the 5th of December 2023. That serves as evidence that there are new infections every day. You need to be cautious not to get false results. So, if you order your lateral flow tests online, ensure they don’t stay outside under the sun for a long time. Take them inside the house.
How Long Should You Store COVID-19 Tests?
Lateral flow test kits can expire, so you can only keep them for several months to one year. Rapid tests usually have an expiration date, which you can find on the box. Before you begin to test yourself or your loved ones, check whether the test kit has expired. The shelf life of these tests varies; for some, it takes 8 months to expire. Others can stay up to 12 months. So it is important to check the ones you have. Avoid using expired rapid tests. They are not likely to give you accurate results. As mentioned earlier, inaccurate results can put your health at risk and endanger your close contacts’ lives.
How Do You Properly Store Lateral Flow Tests?
Apart from getting expired, the accuracy of lateral flow tests can diminish due to how individuals store them. You should try as much as possible to store your lateral flow tests at room temperature. That way, you can be guaranteed that they are safe. Given that different areas in a home may have different temperatures, ensure that the area you choose to store the kits in does not have varying temperatures. Areas whose temperature can vary may include bathroom cabinets. They can get humid or warm when people are taking a steamy shower.
Also, avoid areas that are prone to getting heat from direct sunlight. The best space should be a cool, dark place, for example, the kitchen cupboards, bedroom, closet, or pantry. Ideally, the temperature should be between 4-30 degrees Celsius. Not in a fridge or a freezer. Again, you should use the test kits at room temperature. That is between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius. If you stored the test kit in an area whose temperature was less than 15 degrees, you must leave it at normal room temperature. Let it stay there for 30 minutes before you can use it to get optimal results.
So now, what do you do if you realize you haven’t stored your tests properly?
If you are sure that they have stayed outside the acceptable temperature range for more than a day, toss them in the trash! If they have been in a non-optimal temperature, you can take them to a place with the right temperature. That said, you need to note that the test you conduct with such kits may not be as accurate as the ones that have stayed in the right temperatures. So, you may want to restock your tests.© Copyright 2023 Antonia, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tidylife