A lateral flow test looks for certain markers (proteins and hormones) on a sample of fluid, to give a positive or negative result. There are many different types of lateral flow tests - you may be familiar with a home pregnancy test or the quick COVID-19 test, both of which are rapid lateral flow tests.
The COVID-19 lateral flow test used to be available for free and we were encouraged to take regular tests to attend work or school, or take a test before meeting anyone vulnerable, or going to events or crowded places. This was designed to catch those without symptoms and prevent spread.
Rules have changed from April 2022, and tests are no longer free in England, except for certain vulnerable people, such as the over-75s or those over 12 who have weakened immune systems. Frontline healthcare workers or social workers can also get free tests.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are following suit by lifting all legal restrictions, including access to free lateral flow tests, but they follow slightly different timelines.
Once tests are no longer free, you may still wish for the reassurance of negative lateral flow tests, especially if you have vulnerable people in your life, so they are available to buy from pharmacies and certain retailers.
Lateral flow tests were also available for free to end self-isolation required by law if you were positive for COVID-19, but rules have changed for this, too, in England.
A lateral flow test for COVID-19 has been developed which detects a protein (known as an antigen) that the body produces while fighting a current COVID-19 infection. The test cannot tell you if you have had COVID-19 in the past. Taking 20 to 30 minutes to get a result, a lateral flow test tends to be much quicker than a COVID-19 PCR test, where the samples must be sent off to a laboratory.
At the start of the COVID pandemic, lateral flow tests were thought to be significantly less accurate than PCR tests, but studies have found that when used correctly, they are around 80% effective at detecting any active COVID-19 infection.
Around a quarter of people who have COVID-19 don’t get any symptoms, so many people felt reassured with regular testing or if visiting elderly or vulnerable relatives or meeting lots of people.
If you are currently suffering from a cold or flu-like symptoms or are around people who are, this Kit can help to protect you and others around you from the spread of symptoms.
This health kit aims to:
The importance of self-testing:
Home self-testing is emerging as routine screening measure for pandemic control. Most of the EU countries have authorised and recommended the home antigen tests to help identify risks, and reduce the spread. Self-performed tests reduce the burden of healthcare facility (e.g. diagnostic centre, central laboratory)
Covaflu Lateral Flow Test provide real-time monitoring of infection status for self and family members can better protect the community. Key features include:
The masks have been designed to help protect healthy members of the general public in the event of an outbreak of flu, if the flu virus becomes capable of spreading between humans.
Covaflu Hand Sanitiser is effective against 99.99% of bacteria and enveloped viruses by leaving a residual layer on the skin which continues to protect long after application.
It has a unique alcohol-free formula which does not compromise the moisture barrier of the skin and is perfect for use on delicate hands.
O.R.S Immune soluble tablets combine the fast-proven hydration formula of O.R.S Hydration Tablets with a blend of vitamins and minerals specifically designed to help boost your immune system. It has been formulated by pharmacists to provide fast, effective hydration as well as immune system support.
Give your body the support it needs to maintain normal immune system function with O.R.S Immune Juicy Orange effervescent tablets. Each tablet contains 250mg of vitamin C, 5mg of vitamin D, 2.1mg of iron, and 1.5mg of zinc.
These tablets have a tasty and 100% natural juicy orange flavour, free from artificial flavours or preservatives. They're also vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and lactose-free, making them suitable for the whole family and easy to fit into your existing diet.
Using the products in this health kit together can help to prevent spread and protect you, and those around you from the spread of respiratory viral infections, and aid recovery.
Note: Always read the information leaflets and specific product information before purchasing, as some products may not be suitable for all patients. This may be especially true if you take any other medicines or suffer from other medical conditions. If you are unsure about anything, please speak to your local pharmacist, doctor, or another qualified health practitioner.
In the UK the testing is done by using a clean sterile swab (a thin plastic stick with a soft end, like a cotton bud) to collect secretions from the inside of your nose and at the back of your throat, near your tonsil area. You need to twirl the swab around for 5 seconds in each area. This can be uncomfortable, make your eyes water or make you gag.
The swab then goes into a pot containing some fluid where you will twist and press the swab against the side to release the secretions into the fluid. If you are doing the test for yourself, you will then put a few drops of this fluid onto the lateral flow device. After waiting a specified number of minutes, you are then able to read the results from your device.
Devices differ, but usually, two lines means a positive result, one line means a negative result (or occasionally an invalid test). Instructions may vary slightly with different testing kits, so remember to always read the label and check the expiry date.
The rules in England have changed, so it is not a legal requirement to self-isolate if you know or suspect you have COVID-19, but you are advised to stay home for at least 5 days. The UK government now leaves the responsibility with you to reduce the spread of infection by avoiding others and staying home. Your employer may have clear rules, but this relies on you to declare you have symptoms or have had a positive test.
Your co-workers may not thank you for turning up, and neither will friends and family, but we are all learning to live with the virus now, rather than to completely avoid it, so our attitudes to risk are changing with time.
*Information correct on 4 April, 2022
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