Keeping a supply of at-home COVID-19 tests ensures you'll always know if it's safe to go to work or visit family, friends, and special events. But when your package of tests arrives, you might wonder where and how to keep them. Storing at-home COVID-19 tests properly keeps them functional and accurate longer, and it can also protect your loved ones from exposure to harmful materials. Follow these general guidelines along with specific packaging instructions to store your COVID-19 tests securely.
Keeping Children and Pets Safe
While COVID-19 tests are usually safe to handle, they do contain liquid reagents used to detect the presence of the coronavirus. In small doses, these reagents should be harmless. However, when consumed or applied to sensitive areas like the face and eyes, they can cause irritation or more serious side effects. Because of this, COVID-19 tests must always be stored out of reach of children and pets.
Maintaining Stable Temperatures
At-home COVID-19 tests are designed to survive the shipping process, so most can handle normal temperature variations. However, they should always be taken at around room temperature. If, for example, your tests are delivered and sit on your porch for a few hours in freezing temperatures, bring them inside and let them warm up for several hours before taking a test. Extreme heat, on the other hand, can permanently damage the chemicals used in testing and should be avoided.
Checking Expiration Dates
It's easy to set tests on a shelf, forget about them for a few months, and then go digging when you need them. But if it's been a while since you purchased the tests, keep an eye on their expiration dates. Tests that fall outside their intended lifespan may not return accurate readings. Track the expiration date on your box of tests and replace it periodically to guarantee accurate and timely results.
Disposing of Used COVID-19 Tests
Finally, how should you safely dispose of a test once you have your result? Most test packaging comes with instructions covering disposal. If not, it's generally acceptable to place it in a sealed bag and then throw that bag in the garbage. Wash your hands carefully afterward and you'll be safe to continue your day. If you have any further questions about storing and handling COVID-19 tests at home, don't hesitate to contact a test supplier for more information. With proper safety measures, you can rest easy with the ability to check new symptoms quickly.