Safely monitoring your health during a pandemic can be challenging if you want to limit your coronavirus exposure while continuing your routine medical testing. Luckily, many companies have addressed this issue by developing at-home medical tests you can complete without ever stepping foot outside your door. A variety of testing options can be found with a simple internet search.
The process generally involves purchasing a testing kit-online, which is then posted directly to your home. The kit will contain all the supplies and instructions required to obtain a sample of blood, saliva, or some type of swab. They will also include the pre-labeled posting box you’ll need to send the sample to a lab. Your results will usually be available online in 1-5 days after the sample is received.
Prices of tests can range anywhere from $20-$200. Some companies even offer savings programs that allow for a certain number of tests every month. This can be a great option for those who require regular testing to monitor chronic conditions.
These are a few of the tests available for self-testing at home:
Several companies offer a coronavirus self test. The process usually begins with an online questionnaire or consultation to determine your risk. After payment, they will ship a testing kit to your home. You will then be required to follow instructions to obtain a nasal swab or saliva sample to be posted to a lab that will test the sample for SARS-CoV-2. Results can be expected within a few days after the lab receives your sample.
If you have diabetes, you probably need to monitor your blood sugar levels with a hemoglobin A1c test. This test shows how well your body has been controlling blood glucose levels over the previous 90 days. It is available as an at-home test by sending in a blood prick sample.
An at-home HIV test is usually done with a blood sample you obtain with a retractable safety lancet. Oral fluid tests are also available, but the CDC indicates up to 1 in 12 people receive a false negative result with oral fluid. Blood is better. You simply apply the drop of blood to a card to be posted back to the lab, who will check it for antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2.
Thyroid tests typically assess the levels of TSH, T3, and T4 hormones as well as thyroid antibodies. Thyroid hormones can affect your metabolism, resting heart rate, and internal body temperature. This at-home test is conducted with a blood sample. Test results will likely come with information about the health impacts if your levels are too low or too high.
If you take cholesterol medication or have a family history of heart disease, you might need a cholesterol test. These tests check for LDL, HDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels to assess the health of your heart. You will need to obtain and send a blood prick sample.
At-home tests are available for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis C, HIV, Syphilis, and Trichomoniasis. These tests will require either a finger prick for blood or a vaginal swab for women and a finger prick and urine sample for men.
Other at-home options include tests for food sensitivities, DNA, vitamin levels, colon cancer, hepatitis C, fertility, HPV, perimenopause, testosterone, Lyme disease, and allergies. You might also want to try devices like a blood pressure monitor or a blood glucose meter to ensure your readings stay within normal ranges when your doctor visits have become less frequent.
When choosing a test, there are a few things you will want to look for. Tests should be approved by the FDA, and the labs performing the tests should be CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act) certified. Make sure the price of the test kit includes all posting charges and lab fees. You will also want to be sure the company will provide you with the necessary information to submit to your health insurance provider in case the test qualifies for reimbursement.