How To Know If You Can Still Use Your Expired At-Home COVID Tests

With the colder weather and holiday gatherings, many people are worried about another COVID-19 surge. CNN talked to Shishi Luo, associate director of genetic testing company Helix, which monitors coronavirus variants. "Covid positivity is going up," Luo explained. "It's increasing fastest among 18- to 24-year-olds."

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the United States is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic. During a November 26 interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" (via The Week), Fauci said, "I don't want to see anyone suffer and die from COVID." America's top infectious disease expert explained that 300 to 400 people die daily from COVID-19 in the United States. "I think the idea that 'forget it, this is over' — it isn't," Fauci added. And in 2022, there is more for people to worry about than just the coronavirus. Health experts warn the United States is on the verge of a tridemic since flu, COVID-19, and RSV cases are rising (per CNN).

One way to stay safe and healthy in the face of a tridemic is to use at-home COVID-19 test kits. The good news is that at-home COVID test kits are widely available and can help us keep tabs on whether we've been infected. However, with so many different brands and expiration dates, it can be hard to know which tests are still valid. But the FDA has created a convenient way for people to check to see if their at-home COVID-19 tests are really expired.

Visit the FDA website to check test kit's expiration dates

If your home COVID-19 test kit is expired, wait before throwing the rapid test away. Some companies manufacturing the rapid home test have revised and extended test expiration dates after collecting more research. The FDA created a chart that allows you to look up the brand of your at-home COVID test kit to check if the expiration date has been changed. Go to the FDA website to review the chart and find out if the expiration date has been extended for your COVID test kit. Once you find the brand of the test kit you have, check the expiration date column. If your test kit's expiration date has been extended, you can click on a link to find the revised expiration date.

The at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests Frequently Asked Questions page offers more helpful information. One of the questions on the FAQ page is if the home COVID-19 diagnostic test can be used if the kit is expired. The FDA warns against using home COVID-19 diagnostic tests beyond their official expiration dates. There is too much risk that the tests "may degrade, or break down, over time" and result in "inaccurate or invalid test results."

The FDA's at-home test kit chart is valuable for anyone with an at-home COVID test kit. Contact the manufacturer directly if you don't see your test kit listed. By staying informed and taking precautions, we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 this winter.