WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Many of us will soon get our hands on something that only others have used during this pandemic. That something is free, at-home COVID test kits but how do you make sure you’re using them correctly.

The goal of these at-home test kits is to protect you and the community by determining who has COVID and who doesn’t.

It’s why it’s imperative to avoid making a mistake that triggers a false negative.

One of the tools to detect COVID-19 is rapid antigen testing which can be done at an approved site like the mobile clinic in Wilkes-Barre or from the comfort of home. In both instances, swabs and a testing solution are used.

“There are some people that don’t feel like they did it right or that different thing might affect it. They didn’t go far enough. Sometimes it’s hard to swab yourself,” stated Glory Mardy, nurse practitioner, Urgent & Family Care.

About that swabbing. Some people refer to it as a brain tickler as long as you don’t do it wrong.

“You’re going to get a lot of false negatives if you don’t do the swab correctly. The test is nasopharyngeal so you’ve got to go right back into the back of the throat almost,” said Moustafa Almeky, COVID tester, at Ultra Care Urgent & Family Care.

Almeky has plenty of experience doing it right this pandemic.

“Definitely hundreds if not thousands of tests so. It’s definitely a lot of them. I don’t know the exact number,” said Almeky.

Granted he’s not talking about self-testing but Jenny Hetro is.

“I think people could get nervous like I don’t want to make a mistake,” said Hetro.

The Kingston Township woman was symptomatic earlier this month and tested COVID positive with an at-home rapid antigen test.

“They tell you to put enough solution in the test to make it go to the top and to make sure you swab your nose for the 15 seconds to make sure you get enough,” explained Hetro.

The key to doing the at-home test correctly is by following the directions to a “T”.

“They’re in English and Spanish which is great and they do have pictures which are helpful because sometimes people, you know, can see things and visualize things better than reading,” stated Hetro.

One last thing to set your eyes on: what the drops or solution do to your nasal sample.

“It’s gonna run up and there’s going to be a control line. If the second line does show up then it’s positive but if the first line is there you know that at least you did it correctly,” said Hetro.

Rapid antigen tests aren’t quite as good at detecting small amounts of the omicron variant compared to other strains of COVID-19.

So you’ll want to make sure you get a really good swab sample with your at-home test