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What to do with an expired COVID test?

Have your rapid COVID-19 tests expired? Don’t throw them away yet.

Federal regulators have extended expiration dates on some tests, meaning certain offers can now be used for more months.

The reason for the extension, the US Food and Drug Administration. saidthat in the rush to have rapid test kits available, the agency has generally authorized a shelf life of only four to six months from the day of manufacture.

But manufacturers continue to test kits beyond their initial expiration dates, and some are finding that the tests are good for longer periods.

Once the manufacturer has more data on the shelf life of the test kits, such as 12 or 18 months, the company can ask the FDA to authorize a later expiration date. the agency said.

“When a longer shelf life is authorized, the expiration dates will be extended and the test manufacturer may send a notice to customers to provide the new authorized expiration dates, so customers know how long they can use the tests they they already have”.

To check if your test kit is still good beyond the printed expiration date, you can search the FDA’s “OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests at Home.” place.

Type in the brand name on the FDA site and a link will appear showing a list of updated expiration dates.

You may need to check the lot number on your package. For example, let’s say you’re trying to search for an iHealth COVID-19 test kit with the lot number 222CO20208. Scroll down the document to find your batch number and you will see that the original expiration date of August 7 has been extended to February 7, 2023.

Officials have long noted that home testing is a critical element in the country’s response to the coronavirus, allowing residents to determine and monitor their status and take appropriate precautions to avoid infecting others.

Although less sensitive than a lab-based PCR test, rapid at-home offers are expected to detect a coronavirus infection at least 80% of the time, according to the FDA. While positive results are often accurate, the agency has warned of possible false negatives, especially early in someone’s infectious period.

As a result fda “recommends repeat testing after a negative result, whether or not you have symptoms of COVID-19,” a question that might become more feasible now that certain tests have a longer shelf life.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and get a negative rapid test result, the FDA suggests retesting 48 hours later. If that test is also negative and you’re still concerned your symptoms are caused by COVID-19, the FDA suggests a third rapid test, or a PCR test.

Testing is also important to determine when an infected person can end their isolation period. Health officials recommend that anyone infected with the coronavirus self-isolate for at least five days, and come out of isolation requires a negative rapid test result on or after the fifth day after symptom onset or the first positive test, according to the California Department of Public Health.

If you are unable to test or continue to test positive after day 5, the state recommends self-isolating for a period of at least 10 days.

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