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Health experts share tips for free at-home COVID-19 tests during freezing temperatures

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 8:37 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Free at-home COVID-19 tests from the Federal Government are starting to arrive.

With the recent freezing weather, it’s important to pay attention to how tests are being stored.

Many of the test kits are required to be kept at 36 to 86 degrees and if temperatures go above or below that range the accuracy of the test could be impacted, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health.

These testing kits have liquid inside of them, so if left in the elements for too long it could freeze.

“You think it’s been out in the cold your mailbox is zero or something like that, let it warm up in the house before opening, I think that’s more important, let it warm up at least a couple hours to good room temperature there,” said Dr. Grant Fowler, department chair of Family Medicine at TCU School of Medicine

The FDA says to ensure accurate test performance if a test was delivered in below freezing temperatures, you should being the package inside and allow it to sit for at least two hours to get back to room temperature.

Once the package is at room temperature, it says you can perform the test and as long as you see lines appear you can be confident the test is performing as it should.

Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist with UTHealth School of Public Health says there has not been a lot of data on the accuracy of a test that was frozen.

“You could let it thaw out, use the test, but if the test gives you a funny result, you know, you may want to, you would want to test again.,” said Dr. Troisi

Dr. George Udeani, Clinical Professor and Department Head of Pharmacy Practice with Texas A&M College of Pharmacy also recommends getting a new test if it was frozen.

“If they get a test they were not expecting, they can get a new test or maybe they can get a PCR test that is more accurate than these tests being sent through the mail,” said Dr. Udeani.

Health experts also say it is important to read the packaging and instructions of the brand you received.

The U.S. Postal Service does provide a tracking number for these test kits, so health experts say it is important to make sure you track them and bring them in as soon as possible.

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