Using COVID-19 rapid tests

Rapid tests are used to quickly identify people infected by the virus that causes COVID-19. They are easy to use for everyone and results are available within minutes.

When to use a rapid test

It is recommended that you use a rapid test as soon as possible if you have COVID-19 symptoms and:

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can also use a rapid test to find out if they have COVID-19.

Necessary materials

Everything you need for your test is included in the test kit, except for a timer or stopwatch. Be sure to have one close at hand before starting the test.

How to use the test

The how-to video Rapid testing This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only) explains the different steps to follow when doing a rapid test.

Precautions to take

  • Store rapid tests at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep rapid antigen test kits and solutions out of the reach of children and pets;
  • Never swallow the solutions and avoid contact with eyes and skin. Contact the Poison Control Centre This hyperlink will open in a new window. in case of accidental ingestion or direct skin exposure to the solutions in the kits;
  • Wash hands thoroughly after use.

Steps to take based on the results

If the result is positive

  • Consult a pharmacist quickly if you are eligible for PaxlovidTM treatment. Treatment may be offered to you.
  • Take the necessary steps to avoid spreading the virus, particularly to the vulnerable people around you.
  • Take note of the test date. This information could be useful to you when making an appointment for your next COVID-19 vaccine.

If the result is negative, perform another test 48 hours later.

Shelf life (Expiry date) for rapid tests

The shelf lives (expiry dates) for rapid tests have been amended by Health Canada.

  • Most rapid tests can be kept and used for 24 months after their manufacturing dates.
  • However, BD VeritorTM rapid tests can be kept and used for 16 months after their manufacturing dates.
  • The manufacturing date is indicated on each test box next to the code MFG.

Expired rapid tests can be thrown in the garbage. The instruction sheets and cardboard boxes can be put in your recycling bin.

Last update: May 8, 2023


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