How To Do A Lateral Flow Test At Home Explained In Simple Terms

 Lateral flow tests are quick and easy to do, and they can be done at home with just a few simple kits at home. With a little practice, you can be an expert in no time. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to perform a lateral flow test.

What is a lateral flow test?

A lateral flow test is a quick and easy way to test for the presence of a particular substance in a sample. This type of test is often used to test for the presence of food allergens, drugs, or other substances in a sample.

The sample is collected using a swab sample from the throat, nose, or any other part of the body and analyzed.

How it works?

It works by flowing the sample over a surface that is coated with antibodies or other molecules that bind to the target substance. If the target substance is present in the sample, it will bind to the molecules on the surface, causing a visible change that can be read by the naked eye or with a simple optical device.

It either detects the antigen for instance the detection of SARS-Cov-2 nucleocapsid protein in COVID-19 or antibody detection for example the detection of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein

In most cases, this test can provide results within minutes, making them ideal for point-of-care testing. It can be performed at home or in a healthcare setting an example is the COVID test which people undergo for travel ancillary investigations.

What is it used for (Indications)?

1. Covid

It is used to test and identify persons who are infected with COVID-19, individually especially travelers are subjected to this test and it serves as a practical preventive measure to reduce the disease burden.

It is most accurate in people who already manifest signs and symptoms of the disease and best in the first week of illness.

2. Travel

As earlier stated travelers in recent times are subjected to these tests to determine their COVID-19 status, also this can be used to detect drugs in a person’s bloodstream.

3. Pregnancy

This is another example of the use of this same rapid diagnostic test to detect the hcg in urine or blood of pregnant women which signals cyesis.

4. Influenza A and B

People with respiratory symptoms can be tested for Influenza A and B virus using a rapid lateral flow test. 

How to do a lateral flow test

1. How to do a lateral flow test at home:

This test can be conducted at home with little to no expertise, if you follow the rules you can nail the diagnosis just like the health care workers usually do. Below are the steps:

1. Collect a sample from the person you want to test. This can be done by swabbing the inside of their nose or mouth, or by taking a small sample of blood.

2. Place the sample on the test strip, making sure that it comes into contact with all parts of the strip.

3. Wait for the results. This usually takes around 15 minutes. If the strip turns red, the person has been infected with the virus.

2. How to do a lateral flow test on a baby

If you're a parent with a young baby, you may be wondering how to do a lateral flow test on your little one. While it may seem daunting at first, it's actually quite simple! Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do a lateral flow test on a baby: 

1. First, gather all of the supplies you'll need: a clean work surface, gloves, sterile gauze pads, alcohol swabs, and the lateral flow test kit.

2. Next, wash your hands thoroughly and put on gloves.

3. Then, sterilize the work surface with an alcohol swab and place the gauze pads nearby.

4. Open the lateral flow test kit and remove the testing device.

5. Collect your sample, it can be a throat or mouth swab.

6. Then have the sample placed on the test strip then wait for 15-30 minutes for a color change that indicates infection.  To be positive you will see a red line on the test and patient aspect of the strip.

3. How to do a lateral flow test on a child

To perform this test on a child is similar to that of adults, here is how to do it on a child: 

1. Wash your hands thoroughly before starting the test.

2. Remove the test kit from its packaging.

3. Open the vial of buffer solution and add it to the sample well on the kit.

4. Add a small drop of blood or saliva to the sample well (if using blood, make sure it’s fresh and not clotted).

5. Wait for the results to develop, which should take around 15-30 minutes.

6. Interpret the results according to the instructions in the kit. A positive result will show two pink lines, while a negative result will show just one line.

4. How to do a lateral flow test on a toddler

If you're a parent of a toddler, you know that they're always on the go! This can make it challenging to keep track of their health and know when they might be sick. One way to help with this is to perform regular lateral flow tests on your toddler.

A lateral flow test is a quick and easy way to check for illnesses, such as COVID-19,  flu, or strep throat. All you need is a swab from your child's nose or throat. The swab is then placed in a special solution and inserted into the device.

Within minutes, you'll know if your child has a positive or negative result for the illness being tested. This information can help you decide if your child needs to see a doctor or not.

How to interpret results:

How to do a lateral flow test
To interpret a lateral flow test result, simply look for the presence or absence of the required change on the paper strip. Usually, if it's positive you will see a red color change on the test and patient area. If the change is present, this indicates that the molecule being tested for is also present in the sample.


The test is easy to use, and it only takes a few minutes to get results. The accuracy of the test is high, and it can be used to detect COVID-19 in both the early and late stages of the disease. A lateral flow test is a valuable tool that can help people quickly and easily detect COVID-19.

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