In This Article
In This Article
With the flu season right around the corner, experiencing flu-like symptoms can make you worry if you’ve caught wind of the virus.
The flu is a contagious disease with signs similar to common colds and seasonal allergies.1,2 Flu testing makes it possible to determine if the flu virus — or influenza — causes your symptoms.
At-home flu test kits are an easy and accessible way for us to test for influenza. Some can even detect other viruses that affect your respiratory system.
Flu testing helps your doctor test for the influenza virus. They can confirm a flu diagnosis using at-home flu tests. In addition, testing at home lowers the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Early detection of the flu virus can help prevent it from spreading to people you frequently interact with — like household members and co-workers.
Some at-home flu kits also test for SARS-CoV-2 virus — the leading cause of COVID-19. You’ll need to do a nasal swab or collect a saliva sample.
Tests that check for COVID and flu help your doctor find out which virus is causing your illness. Both of them have the same respiratory symptoms, which can potentially lead to more health problems.
Doctors recommend flu testing if you have flu-like symptoms. It can help them determine the cause of your symptoms.
You can also take an at-home flu test any time you have symptoms. The doctor might order more tests if you have positive results.
They may also ask for a test if you’re at higher risk of developing complications from the flu. Factors that increase your risk for complications include:
The onset of the flu feels like a common cold with frequent sneezing, runny nose, and sore throat. But unlike colds that slowly develop, flu symptoms usually show up suddenly.3
The most common signs of flu are:
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Flu testing can prevent the transmission of influenza and COVID-19. You may find several options to test yourself in the safety and comforts of your home.
Choosing a suitable at-home flu testing kit can be challenging. Many brands are widely available, but we narrowed our list to the 3 best at-home flu tests.
We picked our top choices based on these criteria:
We went through several research studies and reviews to come up with the best choices.
LetsGetChecked is authorized by the FDA to collect samples for flu testing. Their designated lab for analysis is qualified to conduct high complexity tests.4
You can buy the LetsGetChecked Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test online. Using the home collection kit, you can get a swab sample inside your nose.
Their tests have a high analytic sensitivity level, increasing their accuracy. Their kit comes with a return shipping label for sending samples back to their lab.
You can get the results in 2 to 3 days after they receive your sample. Medical professionals can help you understand the findings.
LetsGetChecked provides extensive virtual support to help you with the process.
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You can buy the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test directly from their website. It needs a nasal swab for testing. Each box has 2 testing devices that you can use a few days apart.
It can show your results in 15 minutes, which can be helpful when traveling. But like other antigen rapid tests, it can give false-negative results.
You may retake the test if you get a negative result despite having symptoms.
The Labcorp COVID-19 + Flu PCR Test detects both influenza virus strains and COVID-19. You can purchase it online or from retail stores.
This self-collection test kit needs your nasal swab sample. After mailing back your specimen, you can get the results in 1 to 2 days.
Flu and COVID-19 have the same symptoms. This test can check for the presence of different viruses.
In deciding which at-home flu test suits your needs, you’ll have to weigh its advantages and disadvantages.
A self-collection kit can show if your sample is positive or negative. Inconclusive results may also occur in some cases.
If you purchased a combined testing kit that checks for influenza and other viruses, such as COVID-19, it should provide separate reports for each type.
If you get a positive test result, you must contact your doctor for the next steps. They can help you manage your flu infection and lessen your symptoms.
You should still talk to a doctor if you get a negative result. They can assess if you need more tests, especially if your first test was a rapid antigen test.
Rapid antigen tests are more likely to produce false negatives.
Using at-home influenza tests to detect influenza infection is common. However, the accuracy of their results depends on various factors, such as:
After taking an at-home flu test, you must talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Since the flu is a viral infection, you may be given antiviral drugs to lessen your symptoms. This can also speed up your recovery and prevent complications like pneumonia.
Besides taking care of yourself, you must be careful around other people.
If you feel sick, these tips will prevent you from spreading the infection:
Consider getting an annual flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine. It can protect you and your loved ones from the flu and its health complications.
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