Lateral Flow tests – how to test for Covid19 at home

As we ride out the storm that is Covid19 we are doing our best to stick to the rules in place to stop the virus spreading and keep ourselves and other people safe. 

During the last lockdown we shielded our daughter and this time round she’s safely back at school but as part of her and other children being at school, as a secondary school pupil, we have been asked to carry out rapid Lateral Flow Covid tests twice a week to check to see if she is infected with Covid. The theory being that if she’s carrying Covid then we will catch it and she will isolate at home and we will reduce the spread. 


Whilst Covid19 tests aren’t fun, they aren’t the worst thing that can happen and because I want to support her school we are doing the tests and reporting to her school regularly. 

The kits are not hard to use and honestly, doing a test at home is not as difficult as it might seem. 

We are given kits from school and we are testing twice weekly. I am also testing myself twice weekly for going back to work.

It can seem a little bit scary to have to do tests like this at home. But actually they are not as bad as you think. The worst part is the actual swab bit, nobody likes sticking things in their throat or nose, but once you have got over that part, you are good to go, and the next worst part is waiting the 30 minutes to see what the test says.

You will be given everything you need in the test kit, and all you need at home is to be able to wash your hands, and have a clean surface to carry the test out on.

Your kit comes with the swabs, pipettes, test strips (which look and behave a lot like home pregnancy kits) and instructions.

The how to is easy:

Wash your hands, and wipe down the area you are planning to use. Set up the kit and then wash your hands again. You will need to get the pipette filled with the reagent solution that comes in the little droppers in the kit so you are ready to use that. Have the test kit strip open and ready to go. Once you have opened the kit it all needs to be used within 30 minutes. You do also need to be careful that once the swab is opened that you don’t touch anything with it, other than the area you are swabbing in your nose and throat, so you don’t contaminate it.

Take the swab and open it carefully and follow the instructions for swabbing your throat and nose or help the person doing so. If the idea of trying to swab your tonsils is utterly repellant to you, you can swab both inside nostrils instead.

Once you have swabbed thorougly, you need to take the end of the swab and swish it and press it firmly into the pipette for 15 seconds to make sure the sample is transferred.

Close the end of the pippette and then carefully dispose of the swab in a bin.

Carefully drop two drops of the solution onto the round section of the test area and then set your timer for 30 minutes. The C control line should appear quite fast and that tells you you have done the test correctly.

After 30 minutes you can check. You will either have one control line and no other line or two lines. Two lines means you possibly are infected with Covid19 and you should follow up with a confirmation PCR test to make sure and inform Track and Trace or anyone who needs to know.

If the test is negative, then you can breath a sigh of relief, and carry on your day, as planned. Until the next test is due.

We have shared two videos here and here on what comes in the kit and how to carry out the test.

Some hints and tips:

You shouldn’t eat or drink half an hour before the test, or brush your teeth or use mouthwash. This could affect the result.

Avoiding eating or drinking before the test helps if you gag a lot and are worried about being sick.

If you don’t see a control line on the test it means you haven’t got enough sample from the swab into the solution. You will need to perform the test again.

Take a photo of your most recent Covid19 test to keep just in case you need to share it with your employer or school. There is also a code on each test, make a note of that too.

It’s not fun, but we are hoping we are doing our bit to stop the spread of Covid19 and send our teen to school as safely as we can. I won’t be sad when we don’t have to do the tests but at least we can do them easily at home.

Feel free to comment with questions or thoughts.

Posted in Health and tagged Lateral flow test.