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When to Do an At-Home COVID Test

Updated: 1 day ago

by Dr. Jen Caudle

As more home covid tests become available (thank goodness), you might be wondering when exactly you should test yourself for covid. Understandably this can be a confusing area.


Self-testing with home covid tests is an important way to keep yourself safe as well as keeping those around you safe from covid. Using home self-tests is an important modality for helping control the spread of covid as a whole and as more tests become available we should use them.



Home COVID Tests


As a reminder, the US Government is providing free covid tests to households who request them. You can request your free covid tests here. Here is an on-line tutorial for requesting these tests.


If you are purchasing your home covid tests online or at stores, please use this reference to find approved home tests, as not all home tests are legitimate.


For instructions on how to use home covid tests, please watch here:


When to Use an At-Home COVID Test:


According to the CDC, here are important times to test:

  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms, use a self-test immediately

  • If you were a *close contact of someone with COVID-19, self-test after at least 5 days, plus a second test in 1 or 2 days if your first test is negative (See Serial Testing, below). *A close contact is is anyone who was less than 6 feet away from you for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

  • If you are testing before a gathering, test immediately before the gathering (or as close in time to the event as possible)


In addition, the CDC has a wonderful "Coronaviru Self-Checker" interactive clinical assessment tool that "helps individuals ages 13 and older, and parents and caregivers of children ages 2 to 12 on deciding when to seek testing or medical care if they suspect they or someone they know has contracted COVID-19 or has come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19."



Avoid Testing Mistakes


Finally, here are mistakes to avoid when doing your at-home covid test:


I hope this is helpful, please feel free to email me at info@jennifercaudle.com to let me know.

Dr. Jen


Dr. Jen Caudle is a Family Doctor & Associate Professor at Rowan University, an On-air health expert, and a video creator. Please sign up for her free newsletter and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for daily health videos.




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