SAN ANTONIO — Right now many respiratory illnesses are floating around south Texas, and that is causing many to reach for those free COVID test kits that were mailed to homes this past spring and summer. Many of those test kits have been sitting around for over half of a year.
Do you need to follow the expiration date on an at-home COVID test kit?
- Dr. Duane Hospenthal, a lead infection prevention expert at Baptist Health System
- Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist at University Health System and Professor of Infectious Diseases at UT Health San Antonio
WHAT WE FOUND
Dr. Bowling told us, "The risk you run with using a COVID test outside that expiration date is that some of the reagents, the chemicals in that testing kit may not be as effective. And so you run a higher risk of potentially having a false negative or a false positive result."
Dr. Hospenthal says the good news is that many of those expiration dates have been extended. He said, "It's not unusual for things to get extended. And when they're first put them out, they don't have long term data for them. And so they go back and retest the kits and see if they can be extended or not. And it looks like most them were extended by six months."
So yes, it is true. You do need to follow the expiration date on an at-home COVID test kit.
Click here to find out if your at-home kit has an expiration date that has been extended and when it is good until, with the FDA at-home COVID-19 diagnostic test site.