Experts Warning To People With Lateral Flow Tests At Home As Extreme Heatwave Approaches
| Last updated
Despite there being some debate on temperature constitutes an actual heatwave, it's safe to say that the Met Office's warning for next week must be taken seriously.
They warned that there would be an extremely rare red heat warning for England between Monday (18 July) and Tuesday (19 July) next week.
Notably, this is the first time ever that a red heat warning has been issued and it basically means that there is a health risk to everyone affected, not just those who are normally more vulnerable.
Large parts of England will hit high 30s and possibly 40C in some places.
And since covid doesn't seem to being away any time soon, an expert has now warned us of keeping lateral flow tests in the heat for too long and how to store them correctly.
If not stored appropriately the effectiveness of the tests are said to decrease massively.
Giulia Guerrini, lead pharmacist at digital pharmacy Medino has said: "With temperatures reaching levels in the UK that are largely unheard of, it’s completely understandable to be concerned about safely storing your lateral flow test kits.
"Regular testing is one of the most important measures to protect against Covid-19, so it’s really vital to take good care of tests, to ensure you get the most accurate results.
"The guidance from the NHS is that your lateral flow test kits should be stored away from direct sunlight, at between 2ºC and 30ºC.
"That being said, you shouldn’t refrigerate them either, because storing your lateral flow kits at very cold temperatures can also reduce their reliability."
The existing record for the hottest day on record in the UK is 38.7C, which was recorded in Cambridge on 25 July, 2019.
This record is likely to be surpassed next week.
Explaining what you can do to keep your test kits safe, Guerrini added: "The easiest way to ensure your lateral flow kits stay in the best possible condition, no matter the weather, is to store them in a cool, dry place, out of the sun.
"For example, a medicine cabinet, kitchen cupboard or drawer will all protect the integrity of the tests, even in a heatwave."
She claims that covid tests must stay within this temperature range because 'storing the test at higher temperatures can irreversibly damage the swab, as well as the chemicals used in the test'.
"This means that when the time comes to take a test, your results will not be entirely reliable as the chemical make-up of the test will be altered."
Long story short, keep your tests out of direct sunlight.