Expert advice for those with cold symptoms to do when taking a lateral flow test

Experts are recommending people who are showing Covid related symptoms to conduct a throat swab as well as the nose when using a lateral flow test.

With fears over the rise in infections over Omicron, lateral flow tests are being used regularly by those concerned they may have the virus to ensure they do not infect other family members.

The advice from some experts, which is even recommended when using nasal-only tests, has come after some people have had a string of negative tests but are still concerned they have it.

According to Dr Michael Mina, an American epidemiologist and former assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard, said that the virus may not have reached the nose due to Omicron symptoms starting early.

He said: “Symptoms are starting very early with omicron. This means that there is a chance the virus isn't yet growing in the nose when you first test [as the] virus may start further down. Throat swab and nasal may improve chances a swab picks up virus.”

As opposed to fever and loss of taste and smell, the Omicron variant is more likely to produce the same symptoms as a cold early on after catching it.

  • Symptoms that are different between Omicron, Delta, a cold and the flu

This has caused people to be more concerned over accidentally spreading it over the festive seasons.

Speaking previously on Radio 4, Professor Tim Spector, who helped develop the Covid Zoe app, said the “majority of symptoms” of the Omicron variant are like a common cold, including headaches, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue and sneezing.

Users on social media have begun sharing the success of the throat and nose swab for getting the correct diagnosis.

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Professor Jennifer Rhon, cell biologist at UCL, posted a picture of a positive lateral flow test on Twitter after she swabbed both her nose and throat.

She tweeted: "Well, there it is. Today, with the “wrong” (i.e. cold) symptoms and after a string of negative LFTs, I finally took Twitter advice and swabbed my throat as well as my nose (no mean feat with that diddly stick). If you think you might have Covid, consider adding the throat sample."

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