If you’ve been exposed to someone who currently has COVID-19, you will no doubt want fast answers. Long lines at testing centers and backlogs at laboratories can mean delays in receiving your results. Can you test yourself at home with a COVID-19 test kit? Let’s talk about at-home kits and what they can and cannot do.
Can You Test Yourself At Home With A COVID-19 Test Kit?
Yes, you can purchase an RT-PCR test for home use. Depending on the kit you choose, you can either pick it up at select pharmacies or have it delivered directly to your home.
The exact contents of the kit vary slightly from lab to lab, but in general, they contain:
- A nasal swab
- A collection tube
- Packaging to send your sample to the lab for processing
- Instructions for use
At-home kits are easy to use. Your test will require you to administer a nasal swab to collect a sample from the back of your sinus cavity. You will then use the packaging provided to send the sample back to the lab for processing.
The new at-home saliva test works in much the same way as the DIY nasal swab kit. Instead of a cotton swab, though, you’ll need to provide a spit sample in the provided packaging, which you will then mail back to the lab for processing.
How long does it take to get results?
Your results will not be available immediately. You will need to send your sample to the lab designated by the manufacturer of the kit and wait for your results. The length of time for results will vary depending on the specific laboratory, and can range from 3 days to a week or more.
How are they delivered?
At-home test kits are either delivered to you in the mail or can be picked up at a pharmacy, depending on the brand you choose.
How expensive are they?
The price of at-home test kits varies, as does whether insurance can be used to cover the cost of the test.
Are at-home kits FDA approved?
It depends. All test kits are cleared for use under the FDA’s emergency use authorization, but not all at-home kits have been FDA approved. We recommend that you check on the manufacturer’s website for details.
How accurate are they?
Labs self-report the accuracy of their tests, and the accuracy of kits varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Can you get a rapid (antigen) COVID-19 test at home?
Unfortunately, you cannot get a DIY at-home rapid COVID-19 test at this time.
Do you need a blood sample?
You do not need a blood sample for a rapid antigen test or the RT-PCR test. You do need a blood sample for an antibody test, which can only be performed in a clinic or by a licensed clinician at your home at this time.
Is there an antibody option?
No, a DIY at-home antibody test kit option is not currently available.
How Do At-Home COVID Test Kits Compare Against A Home Service?
A professional at-home medical service is another way to get tested for COVID-19 at home. This type of service has many advantages over DIY kits.
In-home services are:
- Performed by licensed clinicians.
- They can offer the antibody and rapid antigen tests that are not currently available as DIY kits.
- With an at-home service, you are investing in more than the test itself. You can rest assured that your test has been performed correctly.
- You also don’t have to worry about shipping – your clinician takes care of that for you.
- You will also have a personal consultation with a medical professional explaining the results of your test, as well as recommendations as to your next steps if you do test positive.
In-Home RT-PCR COVID-19 Tests With Drip Hydration
If you want fast answers but don’t want to visit a clinic to get tested, you can get an in-home RT-PCR COVID-19 test with Drip Hydration. We bring your appointment to you. Our process is fast, safe, and simple. In addition to our RT-PCR test, we also offer in-home antibody testing and rapid antigen testing for your convenience.
Your results are available within 72 hours for our antibody and RT-PCR tests, and within 15 minutes for our rapid antigen test.