The 3 ways you're doing your lateral flow tests WRONG

BRITS should be very familiar with lateral flow tests by now – for months we have been sticking swabs up our noses to check if we are Covid clear.

Lateral flows are unpleasant but largely painless, and gives you and your loved ones peace of mind.

The best way to beat Omicron is to keep tabs on your health using tests, and get boosted – as a string of hugely positive studies show the variant is milder than other strains.

However, there are still some people out there who are doing something wrong when using lateral flows, which could mean they are getting back incorrect results.

Dr Nathan, an A&E doctor in London, who has been producing helpful posts on his Instagram page (@expedition_doctor) to explain all about Covid lateral flow tests (LFTs)…

What mistakes do people make when taking their lateral flow?

“Failing to spot a positive test. 

“Any positive line within 30 minutes, even if it is so faint that it is barely visible, equals a positive result. 

“However, if a faint line appears after 30 minutes, this can be ignored.”

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What is the best way to take a lateral flow?

“Read the enclosed instructions all the way through before you start the test. 

“Don’t forget to avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes before, to blow your nose and to wash your hands!”

Should you always do a swab of the throat AND nose?

“You should always follow the enclosed instructions. 

“If the test advises doing a throat and nose swab, do this. If it advises a nose swab only, do this. 

“That being said, there are some anecdotal reports of people getting a positive throat swab and a negative nose swab, and later developing symptoms and a positive PCR.” 

Experts have clashed over ignoring the in-pack instructions and always swabbing the throat.

Some say it's essential to do because Omicron can show up during the incubation period in the throat but not the nose, but others disagree.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

It comes as new lateral flow testing rules are coming, with changes in place from Tuesday.

From January 11 you won't have to do a PCR if you test positive on a lateral flow and don't have symptoms.

The rules are quite straightforward – if you test positive on a lateral flow, you isolate and assume you have Covid.

If you don't have symptoms you don't need to do anything else, other than stay at home and log your result on the Government website.

But you should always get a follow up PCR test if you have symptoms of the coronavirus, regardless of your lateral flow test result. 

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