How to Do a Lateral Flow Test?

How to Do a Lateral Flow Test?

Taking a lateral flow test at home is simple and pretty straightforward. In fact, you can take the test without the help of any testing services. Hence, you do not need to visit any public or private test providers. This article contains steps on how to do lateral flow tests at home.

Benefits of COVID Home Testing

Being able to use lateral flow COVID-19 tests at home has numerous benefits, which include:

Quick Results

While some COVID-19 tests require that you send the test sample to a lab for assessment, most lateral flow tests do not. Therefore, you can take the test, get results within 15 to 30 minutes, and take necessary actions if need be to reduce infection rates.

More Secure

Due to the fact that you are taking the rapid lateral flow test at home, you have privacy and can take the test at your discretion. Furthermore, you reduce the odds of contracting the virus because you do not need to visit a lab where you might interact with someone who already has a respiratory infection.

Easier for Children

Taking a nasal swab can be uncomfortable, especially for children. However, with a home test, you can conduct the lateral flow testing in a safe and comfortable environment, meaning that your child will be more relaxed during the process.

More Convenient for People With Mobility or Transportation issues

With a home-based COVID-19 test, you do not need to worry about visiting a lab to take the test. This is more convenient for people who have issues with mobility or transportation.

Steps on How to Do a Lateral Flow Test at Home

Preparing for COVID Testing

Before conducting the test or even taking the swab, you need to take certain actions to ensure the process runs smoothly. Here are those actions.

  • Gather essential tools not included in the testing kits, like a surface cleaner, stopwatch, mirror, tissues, hand sanitiser or soap, and access to warm water.
  • Do not eat or drink anything 30 minutes before you take the test.
  • Ensure your hands are clean by washing them with water and soap or using a hand sanitiser.
  • Confirm that all the contents of the kit are available and not damaged. If you notice any damaged, missing, or broken parts, do not use the kit.
  • Locate a flat surface that is wide enough to contain the content of the test kit. Make sure that this surface is clean and dry.
  • Some flow test kits come with a pre-filled tube, but if yours does not, you can fill it up using the liquid included in the test kit packaging.
  • Drop the filled tube within the tube holder (provided in the kit)
  • Blow your nose as hard as you can.
  • Clean your hands again using water and soap or a hand sanitiser

Taking the Swab

Some tests require a throat and nose swab, while others only require a nose swab. Here’s what you do in either case.

For a throat and nose swab, you should:

  • Open your mouth as wide as you can and stroke the swab against both of your tonsils located at the back of your throat. If you’ve taken out your tonsils, simply rub the swab in the area where they should have been. Ensure to rub the swab on each tonsil four times.
  • Use that same swab to wipe the inside of your nose. You will find the exact steps on how to do this in the instructions manual (included in the kit).

For a nose-only swab, you should:

  • Insert the swab inside your nose as directed by test kit instructions.

Testing Process

After taking the swab sample, you can now process the test. Here is how to do so.

  • Place the swab sample into the filled tube, ensuring that the swab is in the liquid.
  • Mix the swab in the liquid following the test kit instruction, then cover the tube using its lid.
  • Remove the liquid in the tube and pour it on the test strip.
  • Confirm the wait time in the instruction manual of your test kit and set your timer to that time, or simply check the time and wait for that period.
  • Read your result.

Keep in mind that you should not leave the test longer than the waiting time mentioned in the instructions. Doing this might affect the result of your test. Hence, it is important to have a timer with you during this period.

Reporting the Results

Finally, you need to report your result to the NHS using their online service. As long as you use an NHS lateral flow test, you need to report the result, regardless of whether it is negative, positive, or void.


A lateral flow test is the fastest and most convenient way to test for COVID-19. It takes about 15 to 30 minutes, and you can do the lateral flow COVID-19 test at home without the help of a medical professional. All you need to do is follow the instructions provided in the test kit. 

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