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Lexington doctor explains how to use at-home COVID-19 for best results

Faith Terreri
Posted at 7:00 PM, Jan 18, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Americans can now go online and order up to four free at-home COVID-19 test kits as part of the White House's latest effort to solve the nationwide testing shortage.

Dr. Beth Hawse with Commonwealth Pediatrics says that these rapid tests are simple to use, but require precision to get accurate results.

While some doctors recommend swabbing the throat, she's advising patients to stick with nasal specimens for now since that's what the FDA has approved.

"You want to read the instructions thoroughly," said Dr. Hawse. "If it says leave it, leave it. If it says do it a second time, do it a second time. Because if you're not collecting enough virus, you are going to get a false negative. And that doesn't do anybody any good. You got a result you can't trust and you wasted a test."

To order tests, visit COVIDtests.gov or USPS.com beginning Tuesday. The rollout launched one day ahead of schedule.

Remember that these tests are free. There is no need to enter a credit card number and shipping costs are covered. The tests will arrive at your door step within seven to 12 days.

Dr. Hawes recommends that you use the tests whenever you're symptomatic, or if you're planning to attend a gathering with family or friends.

She also says that if you're testing a child, you'll have to swab them yourself.