Tips Before Buying An At-Home COVID Test For Kids


Health officials have said that these are great tools when it comes to public health and screening for infections.

Someone Doing A COVID-19 Test
via Unsplash / Annie Spratt

There are a few things moms should know about rapid COVID-19 tests, both for themselves and their children. COVID-19 has changed the way everyone lives and looks at this world, and while life does seem to be returning to some sense of normal, everyone is still being urged to use caution and comply with public health guidance to make sure that they do not contract and spread the virus. Children under 12 do not have a vaccine yet, so there are a lot of parents worried about their safety, especially if they are completing school in-person.

One of the solutions seems to be rapid COVID-19 tests that can be purchased and done at home. These tests are meant to work similarly to a pregnancy test, where you get the results almost instantly to tell if a person has COVID-19 or not. According to Huffington Post and The New York Times, there are some things parents should know before they stock up for the school year.

RELATED: Trial Underway For “Child-Friendly” COVID-19 Test

These tests can be picked up at any local drug store, they are inexpensive, easy to use and the results show up within minutes. Health officials have said that these are great tools when it comes to public health and screening for infections.

What health experts want parents to know is that these are not as sensitive as the PCR tests at detecting the virus, but they can be useful in detecting if someone is incredibly contagious. Meaning that if they have enough of the viral load in them that makes them a risk to public safety, these tests will pick it up. Health officials are also telling parents that these tests should only be used if their child is asymptomatic. If your child is showing symptoms of the virus, they really should go and get a PCR test done. That is because if your child is showing symptoms, there are interventions that can be done early enough to help them get well.

  • Another reason is that rapid tests look for antigens, a protein that is found at the surface of the virus.
  • PCR tests look for the virus’s genetic makeup or RNA.

PCR tests will pick up the tiniest traces of the virus, which a rapid test cannot. If your child tests positive on a rapid test, then your child likely has a very high viral load and is incredibly contagious. There are currently three brands that are FDA approved, and they are Abbot’s BinaxNOW, Ellume, and Quidel QuickVue. These tend to sell out pretty quickly, so if you see one and want to have one on hand, mom better grab it when she sees it.

Sources: Huffington Post, The New York Times

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