How often should I test?
Testing is an important tool to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular testing helps you know whether or not you have COVID-19 so you can take actions to prevent its spread. There are no rules for how regularly you should test if you are feeling well and are vaccinated against COVID-19, but people who are unvaccinated or not up to date on their vaccinations may want to test on a regular basis to make sure that they have not contracted COVID-19 during their normal activities. Your preferred testing schedule may depend on how often you are in public settings, how closely you interact with other people, and your access to testing resources. Regardless of vaccination status, anyone who feels ill or is showing symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested so they can make informed decisions about their health and the health of their families.
For those taking at-home tests after being exposed to COVID-19, the FDA now recommends testing multiple times over the course of a few days to ensure that the initial negative test result is accurate. After taking your first at-home test and receiving a negative result, wait for 48 hours and then test again. If it is negative again, then wait another 48 hours to test one final time. If at any point you have COVID-19 symptoms but are still receiving negative antigen test results, you may want to get a PCR-based test from a healthcare provider to make sure of your negative result.
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