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How to use the coronavirus home testing kit if you think you have coronavirus.

First published:
26 May 2020
Last updated:

You need to take the test in the first 5 days of having the following symptoms:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a fever
  • loss of smell or taste

You should take the test as soon as you get it. The test does not tell you if you have already had coronavirus.

Before you start

  • blow your nose to make sure nothing interferes with the test
  • wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser
  • place the kit on a clean surface such as a table

Kit contents

  • 1 swab
  • 2 plastic sample collection tubes (some kits may only have 1 tube, do not worry, use the 1 tube to place your sample to return)
  • 1 bag to send the sample back
  • instructions
  • 3 stickers with a number and barcode

Doing the test

Step 1.

Open the packaging of the swab stick end first - you must not touch the fabric end of the swab. The fabric end of the swab must not touch anything else otherwise the lab may not be able to process the results and you may need to be retested.

Step 2.

Start with the throat. Using a mirror take a look at the back of your throat towards your tonsil area, this bit is really important. It is vital you do not get any unnecessary or additional germs on the swab accidentally by touching your teeth, tongue or gums. 

Holding the stick end of the swab, open your mouth and rub the fabric end across your tonsils five times. If you've had your tonsils removed do this where your tonsils would have been. Remove the swab carefully without touching anything else inside your mouth.

Step 3.

Using the same swab as you did in your mouth you now need to swab the inside of your nose. To do this you need to insert the swab inside of the nostril making sure you don't touch any other part of your face. You need to insert the swab into your nostril until you feel resistance, this is usually around the two and a half centimetre mark. Once inside rotate the swab five times against the inside of the nose. Then carefully remove the swab. Keep holding onto the swab and do not let it touch anything else. 

Do not let the fabric tip touch anything other than the inside of your throat and nose to ensure the most accurate results.

Step 4.

Unscrew the cap of your sample tube and insert the swab fabric end first into the tube. Snap off the stick at the break point (this is to ensure that none of the germs from your hands get mixed in with your sample). Screw the cap on securely, double check to make sure it is tight. 

Now wash your hands again.

Step 5.

Place the barcode label over the length of the tube (if your tube has any existing labels on it place the barcode label over these). If your kit comes with a plastic sample collection tube, put the sample tube inside it. Seal it with the lid provided. If you have not got a plastic sample collection tube, place it straight into the envelope provided. 

Your test will be picked up by a courier 24 hours after it was delivered.