Changing Temperatures May Affect Accuracy of At-Home COVID Tests


Tuesday, February 8th 2022, 9:46 am



At-home COVID tests are made easy for Oklahomans to determine if they have the virus or not, but after the winter storm many of these tests could be inaccurate.

"The test should be stored at room temperature. Try and avoid any heat or light, just like any other medication. Also, avoid freezing temperatures and keep them at temperatures between 36- and 86-degrees Fahrenheit," said Beth Walton, the Pharmacy Manager at OU Health. 

As the winter storm swept through our state, many people are concerned their tests might have gone bad.

According to a study done by the National Institute of Health, it says that antigen tests exposed for extended periods of time to temperatures below 36 degrees or above 86 degrees can deliver inaccurate results.

According to the FDA, test performance may be impacted if the test is used while it is still cold.

It also says you can use this test once it comes up to room temperature for 2 hours. 

For OU Health Pharmacy Manager Beth Walton, she finds it important that you know how to use these tests properly. 

She is using the iHealth antigen test being delivered by the federal government.  

"Each of these tests comes with a nasal swab, a test card and a prefilled tube," said Walton. 
"With this swab, we are going to make sure it is inserted in the nostril at half to three-quarters of an inch. Swab both sides for 10 seconds," said Walton.  

Once you do that, you will complete putting the swab in the liquid and then put the liquid on the test card. Once you wait for 15 minutes, you'll have your result. 

If you do test positive with an at-home test, you are still encouraged to go get a PCR test. 

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