On Tuesday, the FDA warned people against using throat swabs while testing at home, encouraging users to only take swabs from their noses for the test.
Pushing back against viral reports that the tests are more accurate when users also swab their throats, the Food and Drug Administration is warning people to follow the instructions of at-home Covid-19 rapid tests and only swab their noses.
The at-home rapid antigen tests currently available in the US were only developed and studied using nasal swabs. Swabbing your throat along with your nose could actually contaminate your sample, according to the agency. “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 said it has also “noted safety concerns regarding self-collection of throat swabs,” which can harm a patient if done incorrectly and should be collected by a trained professional.
As it stands, the reason why people are swabbing their throats is because they don’t feel confident in the accuracy of at-home tests and think the Omicron variant, which often lives in the upper airways, might be more commonly found in the throat. This comes following the fact that doctors are still encouraging patients with symptoms to take a PCR test.