Experts warn never to reuse lateral flow tests – even if you get a void result

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As rules surrounding lateral flow tests and PCR tests have recently changed, it can be difficult to keep up.

From January 11 onwards, the Covid-19 test rules in England are set to be relaxed, in a bid to ease the demand for tests and critical worker shortages – Brits will now no longer be required to confirm a positive result on a lateral flow test by taking a follow-up PCR test.

Now, Rich Quelch at pharmaceutical experts Origin has shared advice on lateral flow tests and is urging people not to re-use them, Birmingham Live reports.

According to the expert advice, lateral flow tests – which work differently to PCR tests – cannot be re-used, as they will provide results that are inaccurate.

Despite the national shortage of the tests, Brits are discouraged from re-using the tests when they've received a void result.

A void result occurs when there is one line next to T and no line next to C, or no lines shown at all.

This means that the test didn't run correctly, but you should use a new test instead of using the old one again.

The NHS Inform website explained: "You should take another LFD test using a new test kit – do not reuse anything from the first kit."

The following advice was also given by experts on all things LFTs.

Lateral flow tests aren't recyclable

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Whether your Covid test is positive or negative, they should all be placed in the general waste bin.

First place all the used items in the plastic pouch provided in the kit.

The government website explains that if you’re doing a home rapid lateral flow test, you should dispose of the used rapid lateral flow kit in your waste bin at home or at work. Used test kit items could include the:

  • swab
  • test strip
  • sachet
  • extraction tube

However, some of the kit package may be recyclable.

Recyclable materials include:

  • cardboard packaging
  • cardboard tube holder
  • paper instruction booklet

Lateral flow tests don't cause any risk to the brain

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According to health chiefs and medical experts, misinformation about lateral flow tests is rife.

Despite the risk of slight discomfort in your nasal passage, there is no risk to your brain when conducting a test.

Posts have been shared on social media suggesting the stick goes so far back it draws samples from the "blood brain barrier".

A spokesperson for Public Health England told Reuters that the tests need to collect samples from the blood brain barrier is not true.

It said: "There is no point in the respiratory tract or nasal cavity where the brain is accessible. It would not be possible to touch the brain with a swab without drilling through the cribriform plate."

Time to wait

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Check the waiting time in the instructions that came with your test kit, but most results should show up within half an hour.

Wait for the time shown in your test kit instructions, and then read the result.

If you read the result later, and a faint line appears, this could be an inaccurate result.

The government explains: "Do not leave it longer than the waiting time specified in the test kit instructions as this may affect the result."

You must report all results

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The public is urged to report all results from a lateral flow test, whether it's positive or negative.

The government asks people to report a result "every time you use a rapid lateral flow test kit" and "as soon as possible after you get the result".

You can't report a result after more than 24 hours, and you can only report one result at a time.

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  • Covid vaccine
  • Coronavirus
  • NHS

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