Thursday, 20 Jan 2022

Doctor explains how you can tell if a positive Covid test is wrong

A London based doctor cautioned people about false-positive tests and revealed a way to determine if you have received a wrong Covid positive result.

With the recent surge of Omicron cases across the UK, many people have taken to getting tested for the coronavirus regularly.

However, many are still confused about what their test results could mean, which lead one doctor to share some advice on how to tell if a faint line on a lateral flow test may be a sign of a wrong covid positive result.

Instagram user @expedition_doctor, who is a medical professional based in London, shared a picture of a lateral flow test with a barely noticeable positive line.

He explained to Instagram users that if this 'positive' line appears after the 30 minute window in which testers should wait for a result, then it does not count as a positive test.

The line may have been caused by very weak contaminant, such as food or drinks, rather than coronavirus says Nathan.

He added if any line appears before the end of the interpretation window – which is usually 30-minutes – then this is a positive test and you must self-isolate and book a PCR.

Nathan, the doctor wrote: "If the faintly positive line appears after the time window, the most likely cause is either that there has been some contamination (e.g. food or drink, or some other very weak contaminant that is causing a false positive), or there are just incredibly low levels of the virus.

"If it is the latter, and obviously assuming you are asymptomatic at this point, then you are very unlikely to be a transmission risk anyway and so it is of little significance.

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"Therefore, the most sensible next step, in my opinion, is not to isolate unnecessarily (bad for mental health and work etc), and not to book a PCR (makes it harder for people who genuinely need them to get one), but to be extra careful with precautions (social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing), and to continue testing with LFTs as per NHS guidance."

He added: "Close contacts of covid should do daily LFTs for seven days if both asymptomatic and fully vaccinated, or asymptomatic and 18 or under.

"If not a close contact, then you should do a LFT before mixing with people indoors and before visiting someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from covid.

"Lastly, please remember, if you have symptoms, you should isolate and book a PCR, even with a negative LFT."

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