MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee’s bone-chilling temperatures could spell trouble for those waiting on the free at-home COVID test kits from the federal government.
Right now, the first wave of free COVID test packages is making its way to homes across the country. But with the city’s temperatures dipping way below freezing, local doctors say if they sit outside too long, it could affect their reliability.
Many of the at-home kits available over the counter have specific storage requirements, generally between room temperature to close to freezing.
Dr. Joyce Sanchez, infectious disease specialist and medical director of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Travel Health Clinic, says while there isn’t a hard and fast rule on how much time outside is likely to affect the quality of the test, it is still a good idea to have someone available to receive the delivery to minimize the amount of time it faces the elements.
“Having a test, even if it's been outside for some degree of time, is better than not having a test at all. So, I encourage everyone to sign up for those free tests that are available, because you just never know when you're going to need them,” said Sanchez.
Dr. Sanchez says another thing to consider is the test’s performance. Each test has a control line and if it is not fully visible, it might be a faulty test.
She also recommends that if you are worried you may have gotten a false test result, reach out to your doctor to see if you need to schedule another test.