At-home COVID tests expiring, what you should know

Posted at 9:49 AM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 12:49:20-04

PHOENIX — It wasn't long ago home COVID-19 tests were at a premium, some people even started hoarding them.

Many may not have noticed there's an expiration date that might be coming up sooner than you realize.

ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Shad Marvasti says the technology on those tests is still so new their life is limited. The good news is that as drug companies continue to study the virus and their tests, they're learning the expiration date on the boxes might not be accurate and may have another three months of life left in them.

The safest thing to do is go to the company websites as some are starting to list the true expiration.

Dr. Shad says if you do take an expired test, you simply won't get an accurate result but adds that if you have several unused tests, you're probably not using them as intended for mitigation.

"You actually have to use two or three tests every time you're going to test to see if you have it to even be accurate, which means you should actually be using more than you may think not just one test and then I'm done until the next time." said Dr. Shad.

He says the best rule of thumb is any time you're going to big gatherings like festivals or concerts, you should take a test three days later and again 24-hours after that as your viral load changes over time if you are sick. You should still follow up with the gold standard PCR lab test if you've been exposed.

In the meantime, find a way to donate those unused tests before it's too late, he suggests offering them up to coworkers.