As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we’ve all learned ways in which we can adapt our daily lives to keep ourselves and others safe from the virus. Washing our hands more often, and more thoroughly, keeping a safe distance from others and wearing masks when we are in public indoor places all help to stem the spread of the virus.
On top of the aforementioned practices, when we fear that we may have contracted the virus, it’s important that we are tested and remain isolated until we are deemed safe to reenter the outside world. But what if we don’t have symptoms? In many cases, a lot of carriers of the virus are asymptomatic and if we don’t have symptoms we may not be aware that we have the virus and risk spreading it to our families, members of the public and people we work with.
It’s for this reason that many companies are asking their employees to do lateral flow tests at home to make sure that they are safe to come into work.
What is a Lateral Flow Test?
Lateral flow tests are only used in people who don’t have symptoms. They are designed to find people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious.
This type of test is very good at identifying people who have lots of the virus, and are infectious on the day, so they are a good spot check test of whether or not someone is safe to leave the house and go to work.
Lateral Flow Antigen testing involves processing a nose and throat swab sample with a Lateral Flow Device (LFD). The LFD detects a COVID-19 antigen that is produced when a person is infected with COVID-19.
How Soon Can You Get a Result?
If the COVID-19 antigen is present, then a coloured strip on the LFD will appear to show a positive result. If you take a lateral flow test at home, you can see your result after 30 minutes.
What if it’s Positive?
If you get a positive result, you must self-isolate immediately to avoid spreading the virus to others.
What if it’s Negative?
A negative result means that an active coronavirus infection was not detected at the time of the test. However, this doesn’t guarantee that you don’t have coronavirus. You should continue to follow coronavirus rules, including regular hand washing, social distancing and face coverings where required.