Four common mistakes people make when using antigen tests

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Better late than never: Spanish government sets maximum price of antigen tests to 2.94 euros
CREDIT: Healtheuropa

Antigen tests can sometimes show a false positive result, although experts say they are accurate when it really counts. Here are four common mistakes to avoid making.

Demand for self-diagnostic antigen tests has skyrocketed recently, with people wanting to know if they are infected before gathering with friends and family over the Christmas period. Such high demand has left pharmacies throughout the country with shortages.

There are four different key areas that may cause a self-diagnostic antigen test to give a false positive result if they are not taken into account, something that does not happen with PCR tests. The basic mistakes are given below.

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Date

As with any product that is sold to the public for consumption, antigen tests have an expiry date. Each test has a specific period for optimum functioning. Carrying out a test after this date may lead to a false result, whether positive or negative.

However, the conservation of the product is carefully controlled at pharmacies, and they do not usually sell products that expire in under six months.


Temperature

Health-related products usually have a range of optimal temperatures for conservation, as extreme cold or heat may lead to inaccurate results.

The same happens with self-diagnostic tests. The liquid used for the optimisation of the sample is a very delicate product. Stable temperatures are required for both the conservation of the test and carrying it out.


Acidity

Experts have found that coffee, fruit juice or acidic food and drink affect the effectiveness of the test and may cause an invalid result. The same happens with Coca-Cola, toothpaste or mouthwash, which, due to their composition, may lead to an inaccurate result.

Food and drink

Each self-diagnostic test comes with a series of guidelines that indicate how to take the sample required for the test in the best way possible. These guidelines indicate that it is not recommended to eat or drink within 30 minutes before doing the test.

All this information is indicated in the test instructions.

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