Rapid Antigen Tests

How Do You Take an OTC Rapid Antigen Test?

COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are an important tool to use when trying to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. By providing the opportunity to self-administer a covid test from the comfort of your own home, these rapid antigen testing kits help you discover your COVID-19 status while minimizing your contact with the outside world and limiting the risk of further infection.

These tests are widely available to the public and have done an unquantifiable good for countless people around the world.

To ensure the integrity of over-the-counter covid test results, it’s important to conduct these tests according to its instructions. By doing so, you can ensure your test results don’t yield a false positive or negative.

What are the best COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests?

Though many rapid covid tests are available on the market, their levels of accuracy and sensitivity may vary. Both aspects of covid testing are important for two reasons.

Firstly, taking a COVID-19 rapid antigen test that is inaccurate may cause you to unknowingly spread COVID-19 to your friends, family, and the immunocompromised. Secondly, an inconclusive result on your COVID-19 test means that you will have to redo it (costing you more money in the long run).

Here at SVI Medical Group, we recommend that you only use FDA-approved rapid antigen test kits like the FlowFlex antigen rapid test kit and the Salacor POC test kit. This is because these kits are often the most accurate and safe to use.

How do I use an over the counter-COVID-19 rapid antigen test?

Though steps may vary from test to test, there are some common rules and protocols that most OTC COVID-19 tests follow. These quick and easy steps will ensure the most accurate results while limiting user error:

1. Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is an integral step in taking your rapid antigen test. Often, user error is a major cause for concern when awaiting your rapid antigen test results. Washing your hands has a great capacity to limit user error through cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination is the movement of bacteria from one area to another. When you don’t wash your hands, you risk transferring bacteria or germs from one object to your test, thereby tainting your results. This is why it’s always advised that you administer your tests after cleansing your hands of germs.

This is a simple process that should be done by washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least thirty seconds. When this is complete. Wipe the excess water off with a clean cloth or paper towel. By the end of this process, you will have limited the transfer of bacteria and germs from anything you would have touched to your test.

2. Remove the pieces.

The second step of administering any rapid antigen test is simple. First, you must open the kit and remove the pieces from the box. When doing so, ensure that the surface you put the pieces on is clean and dry. This helps you avoid contamination as much as possible.

3. Read the instructions.

Within any OTC rapid COVID-19 test kit, you should find a piece of paper. It is imperative that you open this paper and carefully read and review it. This paper should offer both instructions and warnings on how to properly conduct the test. Though this blog offers extensive guidance on the process, some covid tests are different from others and may offer some variation from these instructions.

Look carefully at the instruction paper. Try to find a list of the parts in your kit. If you’re able to do so, compare them to the pieces you have in front of you. Do you have all of the parts? Do any of the pieces look unfamiliar? If so, consider contacting your seller and clarifying any questions you may have on your covid test.

4. Collect the sample

Within your kit should be a collection swab in its own packet. Open the package and retrieve the collection swab. To use it, insert the swab into your nose. Be careful not to insert the swab too deeply into your nose. A good measurement is the length of the tip of your pinkie.

Once inserted into your nostril, rotate the swab five times. Then, repeat this process with the next nostril. Though this process may feel strange, it isn’t harmful and will not hurt. If it does hurt, your swab is likely too far into your nostril.

Once you’ve completed this process, place the swab back into the wrapper onto a clean surface.

5. Use the dropper

Collect the dropper and tap it on the counter three times. Then, open the lid and place it on a clean surface.

Collect the swab from the wrapper then place it in the dropper. Rotate the swab in the dropper fifteen times, then squeeze the dropper while you pull the swab free. This ensures you get every last drop of the collection.

You can then place the cap back onto the dropper and set it aside.

6. Place the collection in the collection chamber.

Take your dropper and place three drops into the collection chamber of the kit. Ensure that the collection actually enters the collection chamber as this is imperative to receiving accurate results.

Please note that nothing another than the collection should be present in the collection chamber. Other materials such as saliva or water should not be in the collection chamber. You should also refrain from putting the swab samples directly into the collection chamber as your results will be flawed if not inconclusive.

While in the collection chamber, your sample will be tested. It’s important to maintain the integrity of the sample.

7. Await your results.

Now that your sample is in the collection chamber, you must wait patiently for your results.

Be sure to set the alarm or timer to ensure that you check your sample when you should. This process usually takes only fifteen minutes, but you should check your test’s instructions to make sure. Regardless, you should wait for the recommended time and set an alarm on your phone or use a timer to keep track.

Reading your results

After fifteen minutes, your rapid antigen test results should be available. If done correctly, you should be able to determine whether or not you have covid-19. There are three possible results:

  1.  Positive: If your over-the-counter covid test is positive, you should see a red or pink line near the letter “C” on your test and a blue line on the “T” of your test.
  2. Negative: If your at-home COVID-19 test is negative, you should see a red line on the “C” of your test and no line on the “T” of your test.
  3. Invalid or Inconclusive: If your rapid antigen covid test shows only a blue line at the “T” on your test, your covid test is inconclusive. This means that the test couldn’t read your results and you should take another one.

Beware of User Error

As we’ve discussed, home covid tests are at considerable risk for user error as those conducting them are typically not medical professionals. This can cause inconclusive or even inaccurate results.

Precautionary steps like washing your hands and working on a clean surface are great ways to limit cross-contamination. Closely following the instructions on your at-home covid test is a great way to limit user error as well.

Can children use these tests?

Typically, children over the age of two are able to use at-home covid tests. However, it goes without saying that they should not self-administer these tests. A responsible adult must administer the test for the best results and limited user error.

Similar rules apply in terms of the instructions. Ensure that your hands are clean and the area where you are placing your materials is as well. Administer the test to the child as you would yourself and wait patiently for their results.


At-home or over-the-counter COVID-19 antigen tests do a great job of helping individuals determine their COVID-19 status. With quick and accurate results, they can provide a convenient way to determine whether or not you have COVID-19. Though there is a risk of user error, following the instructions in this article and in your at-home COVID-19 antigen test should limit it.

SVI Medical Group is a rapid antigen test kit supplier. We offer bulk covid test kits and work directly with manufacturers to provide fast and accurate OTC COVID-19 rapid antigen tests. This allows us to distribute rapid antigen tests at the most reasonable prices and help limit the spread of COVID-19.

We have a variety of OTC rapid COVID-19 test kits available, so visit our website or contact us today to join the fight against COVID-19.