As lockdown restrictions ease, many of us are looking forward to finally being able to spend time with friends and family we’ve been missing for the past few months and working alongside colleagues we haven’t seen in person for a while.
But to do this safely, there are key precautions everyone needs to take.
Most people catch Covid-19 from the people they spend most time with, and as around 1 in 3 people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms, you or someone you know could easily spread it without knowing.
Getting into the regular habit of testing twice a week will play an important role in keeping life moving, along with the vaccine, Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air rules and social distancing measures.
If you don’t have symptoms, regular rapid Covid-19 tests are a fast and easy way to find out if you have coronavirus. Testing twice a week if you don’t have symptoms will help stop the virus spreading, looking out for those we’re coming into contact with.
Here, Mirror writer Lynda explains why she’s happy to make regular rapid tests part of her new routine…
“‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.’
I saw that quote on a friend’s Instagram timeline on the one-year anniversary of our first lockdown. If we’d have known then what we know now, I’m not sure any of us would quite believe it.
Think about it. You’ll school your kids at home for the majority of the year while working full time with no respite, you’ll only see loved ones via computer screens, your home will turn into a snack fuelled, all-purpose, free-for-all and testing yourself at home for a world dominating infectious disease will become as commonplace as putting the bins out.
Of that life changing list, it’s definitely the latter that is helping us with the ‘live forwards’ part of the quote. In an instant a simple little swab can take us from dwelling on the year in which we lost so much, to looking ahead to a more optimistic future.
You can order or collect what’s known officially as a ‘rapid lateral flow test’ if you’re over 18 in England and do not have coronavirus symptoms. The tests are free and you get a result 30 minutes after taking it.
My husband and I are yet to be offered the vaccine and whilst we are hand sanitiser central here, back to school has ultimately meant our ‘bubble’ has expanded through no choice of our own. The tests provide reassurance in what are still very uncertain times.
The process is neither difficult nor time consuming, especially for us adults. If you’ve ever done a pregnancy test or know how one works, you’ll know peeing on a stick, while a different experience to swabbing the throat and nose, is a similar level of fiddley followed by a rapid result and peace of mind.
For me, a home pregnancy test back in 2014 came about after some strange symptoms including an unexplained fondness for spaghetti hoops. For my second pregnancy in 2018 there really weren’t any signs at all, but as I was about to commit to a hen do later in the year, I thought I’d better just check I’d be okay to drink my bodyweight in prosecco. Turned out to be a sobering moment when those two beautiful little lines appeared.
Similarly, the regular rapid Covid-19 tests should be used if you don’t have Covid-19 symptoms as it’s much better to have that peace of mind so you can go about your daily life confidently. They are really very handy to have in and once you get used to them, you’ll find testing yourself twice a week – the amount recommended by the Department of Health – becomes routinely reassuring.
Believe it or not, there is actually such a thing called POAS (peeing on a stick) addiction for some women taking pregnancy or ovulation tests, where it can feel weird not to get up in the morning and pee on a stick.
If you’ve ever had to hold a plastic stick while trying to simultaneously aim your urine in a specific direction and not pee on yourself, you’ll know that rubbing a swab over your tonsils four times and circling in one nostril 10 times, by comparison, is a doddle.
While I can’t say I’m quite at the TTT (tickle the tonsils) addiction stage yet with the lateral flow home tests, certainly the regular use of this convenient little kit is a no brainer when it comes to the quest for a brighter future where we can all ‘live forwards’. I’m all for that.”