Covid tests: When should you take a lateral flow test? – and where you can buy them

Dr Hilary Jones explains nine new symptoms of Covid

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At the start of this month the Government scrapped free lateral flow test (LFT) kits in England, with most residents instead having to buy their own if they want to monitor their Covid infection status. The decision has left some confused as to when they should be testing themselves, though one pharmacy has now offered advice to help clear up the situation.

Today, only those at risk of serious illness from Covid are entitled to get free tests if they develop symptoms of the virus.

NHS and adult social care staff, as well as those in other “high-risk settings” are also eligible.

Everyone else must now pay for LFTs with high street prices for a single test ranging around the £2 mark.

Nonetheless, members of the public are still being asked to look out for symptoms that could indicate the presence of Covid.

The NHS has said the following symptoms can be a sign of adults suffering with Covid:

  • A high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • An aching body
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick

Well Pharmacy is urging people to consider getting an LFT when:

  • Visiting vulnerable relatives or friends
  • If you have spent time with somebody who has Covid however you don’t have symptoms
  • Being in close proximity to a large number of people, such as at an airport, on a flight
  • When you have cold-like symptoms but no fever, loss of smell/taste, or cough
  • If you have had Covid and are wondering if it is safe to return to work.

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Ifti Khan, Pharmacy Superintendent at Well Pharmacy said: “We are seeing more and more people asking our pharmacy teams when they should carry out lateral flow tests.

“It is important for people to follow the Government ‘Living with Covid’ guidance, remain vigilant to the Covid symptoms and take appropriate measures to protect themselves, their family, friends, and others.”

Where can I get LFTs?

A number of high street retailers, such as Boots and Superdrug, have already started selling LFT kits on their store shelves.

At present, a single LFT from Boots will set you back £2, a pack of two £3.95 and a combo of five will cost £9.80.

Meanwhile, Superdrug has marked up their LFT kits at £1.99 for a single test.

Boots has committed to offering its LFT kits in more than 400 stores nationwide.

According to British Airways’ list of approved Covid test suppliers for travel purposes, at-home lateral flow test kits provided by companies such as Randox, Eurofins, Medicspot and Breathe Assured can range from £9.96 to £20.16.

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