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VERIFY: Yes, your COVID tests will still be reliable even if they were exposed to freezing temperatures

One billion COVID-19 test kits are being mailed to homes courtesy of the federal government. But what if it sat in your mailbox during the last snowstorm?

ST. LOUIS — Starting next week, every home in the United States will be able to order four more free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, public health officials have said testing is one of the first lines of defense against limiting the spread of COVID-19. 

Rapid COVID-19 tests allow people to take their own sample in the comfort of their home and get a positive or negative result within 15 minutes, but you need to make sure you are following the directions.

That's where this question comes from.


If an at-home COVID-19 test kit is exposed to freezing temperatures, are the results still reliable?


-The Food and Drug Administration
-Abbott Laboratories
-iHealth Labs


We can verify if an at-home COVID-19 test kit is exposed to freezing temperatures, the results should still be reliable as long as you bring the test kit to room temperature before using it and the test line appears as described in the instructions.


There is a liquid component inside these tests that can freeze.

The ideal storage temperature is between 36 and 86 degrees.

The FDA told the Verify team these test kits undergo testing to ensure stability in different environments including very hot and very cold.

The most important factor is the temperature when you use the test, according to all three sources.

Test kits need to be used when they are at room temperature.

Our sources say to bring the kit inside your home and leave it at room temperature for at least two hours before opening it.

The FDA says when you use the test, "As long as the test line(s) appear as described in the instructions, you can be confident that the test is performing as it should."

A spokesperson for iHealth Labs suggested testing more often if you are worried about the accuracy of your result.

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