Can I test for the flu or RSV at home?


(NEXSTAR) – The country seems to be collectively battling a host of viruses right now, with influenza ripping through communities and RSV crowding hospitals with sick, young patients.

So if you’re one of the many sick Americans right now and have already tested negative for COVID-19, you may be wondering what exactly you have – is it the flu, RSV or just a common cold?

Unfortunately, nailing down a test for influenza and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is not quite as convenient as the COVID-19 rapid test, but there are still a number of options. RSV is a common cause of cold-like symptoms that can be serious for infants and the elderly.

“There are currently no fully at-home tests for flu or RSV,” James McKinney, spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told Nexstar.

This is unfortunate for people who come down with influenza, as the existing antiviral drugs work best when started early, one or two days after symptoms begin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While you may not be able to get the results at home, there is an at-home testing kit from labcorp the FDA approved under an emergency use authorization earlier this year. You can test for COVID-19, flu and RSV by self-swabbing and sending the kit to a laboratory for analysis. For those who aren’t insured or don’t meet the criteria for the $0 upfront cost option, the price is a hefty $169.


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