Can I Test Myself for the Coronavirus at Home?

There are several options for at-home test that can tell you if you have COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. They include home collection kits which are then sent to a lab for analysis, as well a few new rapid tests where you gets your results at home within minutes.

The at-home self-collection kits generally cost anywhere from $100 to $150 and can be found in some drugstores and retailers. Several major lab companies supply the kits, including LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics and P23 Labs. You register the kit online with the test's company, take your own nasal swab and express ship it back. Test results are received either online or my email or text within 24 to 48 hours after the test is received by the lab.

The rapid test include:

  • BinaxNOW. you order througha phone app with a doctor's prescription. When the kit arrives, you log into an eMed site with then guides you through how to test yourself with a nasal swab.
  • Ellume. Requiring a perscription, this costs about $30, It also uses an app to guide you through the process using a nasal swab
  • Lucira Health’s “All-In-One.” Costing less than $50, it rerquires a prescrition. You collect a sample through a nasal swab that you then put in a vial of solution. You then put the vial into a portable, battery-operated device. Within 30 minutes a light on the device indicates negative or positive. 

If you don't want to do an test at home, a medical provider may be able to test you, depending on your symptoms , other risk factors, and whether you’ve been exposed to the virus. Here’s what to do if you think you need to be tested:

  • Call your doctor, clinic, or hospital first and let them know you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Tell them if you are older than 60 or have another health condition, like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
  • Be ready to describe your symptoms and if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus.

Your doctor or hospital will then give you instructions on what you need to do next. They could include going to a clinic, going to a drive-thru test location, or staying at home away from other people to avoid spreading the disease.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on December 17, 2020




Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Abbott Ress Release: New At-Home COVID Test: Results in Minutes

FDA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Antigen Test as First Over-the-Counter Fully At-Home Diagnostic Test for COVID-19

FDA: BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card

Lucira Health Press Release: Lucira Health Receives 1st FDA Authorizxation for COVID-19 Self-Testing AtHome


Washington Post: How do home tests for coronavirus work? Where can I get one?


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