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Monday, February 26, 2024

Everyone should have home COVID test kits

By Veita Bland, M.D. / January 21, 2022

The government has recently bought a large number of the quick home test for COVID-19. There is also a mandate that insurance companies are to pay for up to eight home tests per month. People are asking if they should avail themselves of this test. I must say it is a good idea to have the testing available at home. Especially at this time of the year when there are so many viruses with cold symptoms around, there is truly no way to tell from symptoms whether a person has COVID-19 or a normal cold. Testing is your best bet. These are antigen tests. They are most accurate in symptomatic individuals from 5-7 days of their onset of symptoms.

The Omicron variant is very infectious and the ability to test oneself after engaging with other people is invaluable. We know that COVID-19 is spread through secretions emanating from an infected person from their speaking, coughing, laughing or evening yawning. That is why using a mask of good quality (N95) and observing that distance of six feet is especially important. We have seen so many people infected in the last few weeks and the need to continue to be on guard as we traverse these slippery slopes of COVID-19 remains.

As much as people do have to interact with others on some basis, taking care and being vigilant is wise. So, please take go online and sign up to receive these at home test kits.

PCR testing that is sent off to a laboratory is more accurate. The timeline for receiving these test results vary due to the greater demand for testing at this point. Testing turn around has gone from two days to as much as a week due to the current high demand. If one has been using antigen home testing and is negative, but is still having symptoms, a PCR test may be the next step to more accurately define the status of that individual.

My suggestion would be to have several antigen tests on hand at home. Use them when you have been exposed to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or if you have developed any of the following symptoms such as a fever, loss of smell or cough. So many people with COVID are asymptomatic carriers.

If you or your family member is positive, isolate at home. Hydration is extremely important. Monitoring and treating a fever is also important. Your healthcare provider should be made aware of your COVID positive or negative status. This is especially important if there are medical conditions that would place you at increased risk of developing severe illness and hospitalization.

These would include any respiratory disease such as COPD, asthma, emphysema; any cardiac disease, including hypertension. Diabetes, kidney, or any liver disease also increases risk of hospitalization. Conditions that affect the immune system such as HIV and cancer put a person at greater risk of developing serious COVID illness and need for hospitalization. Obesity is also a factor that increases risk. If in doubt, ask your health care provider.

The majority of people will do simply fine. Let your healthcare provider know if there are problems. Continue to use good hygiene procedures when dealing with infected individuals such as hand washing and keeping surfaces clean.

The battle continues but with at-home testing, we may be more informed and that is power to continue the fight.

Home tests can be ordered free, one set of four per household, through the U.S. Postal Service. Visit: https://special.usps.com/testkits to register and learn more.


Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at ideas@blandclinicpa.com.




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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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