Recently, behind the scenes here at the local radio stations of Townsquare Media Berkshire, we suffered a minor COVID-19 scare and it raised an interesting question regarding at-home COVID test kits.

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That question was: "Is it still okay to use an at-home COVID test kit if it has expired?" For your health and safety's sake, it's important that you know the answer. If you're like most people, you probably purchased anywhere from a few test kits to several just to be prepared. Especially if you have children or a larger family residing in your home.

All of a sudden, a friend, family member, or co-worker tests positive for COVID. You feel secure knowing that you have some at-home testing kits on standby. You reach to take one so you can give yourself the test(hoping and praying for "Negative. Please, God, let it be negative!" That's when you realize that your test kits have expired, some only recently.

Well, they should still work, right? After all, you paid enough money for them and some of them literally JUST expired like two weeks ago. They should still provide accurate results, right?

Sadly, the answer is no. The latest data shows that COVID cases are climbing in Massachusetts, so it's a good idea to make sure you have some at-home testing kits available in case you need them. Also, you will need to make sure the kits HAVE NOT expired.

The Food and Drug Administration(FDA) states quite clearly that if an at-home testing kit for COVID-19 has passed its expiration date(it doesn't matter by how much) you should NOT use it for an accurate test.

According to the FDA, the parts used for the testing kits may disintegrate or fizzle out over time which could provide an incorrect or invalid result. But, hold on. Don't throw those test kits away just yet.

The FDA reports that some of the testing kits may have extended their expiration date that you see on the label. So, before you toss it away, check the FDA's website here to see if your testing kit brand has an extended expiration date. Apparently, at least 10 of the test kits now have an extended use time.

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