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How to take a rapid antigen test properly

Reporter Shivé Prema demonstrates how to take a rapid antigen test.

Rapid antigen tests are flying off chemist shelves as the government encourages their use to alleviate pressure on PCR testing clinics.

With the huge demand for rapid antigen tests or RATs, the first and hardest step can be actually managing to buy one.

Following your local pharmacy on Facebook, calling ahead or getting to the chemist early are all good ways to ensure you can secure a testing kit.

There are 15 rapid antigen test kits available in Australia. They cost about $10-20 per test and come in packs of two, five, 10 or more.

This means a testing kit costs at least $20.

The test used for this guide was an EcoTest COVID-19 Antigen Saliva Test Kit, which cost $65 for a pack of five, or $13 per test.

Reporter Shivé Prema takes a rapid antigen test.

Reporter Shivé Prema takes a rapid antigen test.

Saliva testing kits require a swab from the mouth while other testing kits may require a swab from the nose.

The method is to remove the test tube from the base and remove the protective layer over the saliva collector.

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The next step is to place the saliva collector on the tongue for two minutes. Use a timer for assistance.

Once the timer is up, firmly push the test tube back into the base, making sure it goes all the way in.

The next step is to wait another 15 minutes for test results. If the test has been done correctly, a dark line or two lines will appear on the testing strip to indicate a result.

One line indicates a negative result while two lines indicate a positive result.

One line indicates a negative result while two lines indicate a positive result. The pictured result is negative.

One line indicates a negative result while two lines indicate a positive result. The pictured result is negative.

Those with a positive test are advised to get a PCR test at a testing facility to confirm their result and isolate until further notice.

Those who test negative are advised to monitor for symptoms and continue COVID-safe practices.

The Department of Health's Dr Lucas De Toca said rapid antigen tests were most useful for asymptomatic people who needed to get tested regularly for work.

"They [rapid antigen tests] are used commonly in professions where people need to get tested regularly in order to enter residential aged care facilities or work at mining sites," he said.

"They can help you understand or give an indication of whether the antigen is detected but it's really important that if you get a positive test, you get it confirmed at a testing centre by a traditional PCR."

Want to learn about the difference between rapid antigen and PCR tests? Watch this video:

The Department of Health's Dr Lucas De Toca has explained the difference between rapid antigen and PCR tests amid increased demand for COVID-19 testing across the country.
This story How to take a rapid antigen test properly first appeared on Newcastle Herald.