Dr. Jen Ashton, FDA warn against swabbing throat for at-home COVID test kits

"Do not take a test that's made and designed for nasal swab and use it in your throat"

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
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Dr. Jennifer Ashton answers your questions about COVID in children and how to keep them safe as school restarts.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Should you take your COVID tests by swabbing your throat instead of your nostril? ABC's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton says it really depends on the test.

Dr. Ashton joined Eyewitness News on Tuesday to set the record straight on a recent trend that has surfaced on social media of people promoting an at-home COVID rapid test swabbing technique that includes swabbing the back of the throat.

The trend prompted the FDA to release a statement that warns people not to swab their throats during an at-home COVID test saying that it's not how the tests were designed, and it could pose a safety concern.

"The FDA advises that COVID-19 tests should be used as authorized, including following their instructions for use regarding obtaining the sample for testing. The FDA has noted safety concerns regarding self-collection of throat swabs, as they are more complicated than nasal swabs - and if used incorrectly, can cause harm to the patient. The CDC recommends that throat swabs be collected by a trained healthcare provider," the statement read.

They say that the idea that this method could collect a better sample is not proven for the currently authorized tests, and if you have an at-home testing kit, follow the directions on the box when using it.

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Dr. Ashton had a similar response to the recent trend, saying that while swabbing the mouth is an acceptable method for some test kits, if that's not what the test instructs, don't swab your throat.

"Do not take a test that's made and designed for nasal swab and use it in your throat," Dr. Ashton said.

She says the bottom line is not just to do the test, but make sure the test kit is "reputable and authorized."

It's also equally important what you do once you get your test result.

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Dr. Ashton says if your test comes back positive, believe that it is a true positive and isolate until you can get a confirmatory PCR test.

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