COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests: How to Collect a Sample

The following highlights general steps for collecting a sample using either the combined oral and nasal method or the nasal method.


To collect a sample for a rapid antigen test (RATs), users should follow the instructions described in the kit insert.


In addition to the collection method option approved by Health Canada (as described in the kit insert), users may choose to perform combined oral and nasal sampling as it may increase test sensitivity.


If swabbing your mouth and nose (combined oral and nasal method)


  1. Do NOT eat, drink, chew gum, smoke, or vape for at least 30 minutes before collecting the sample.

  2. If you have access to a facial tissue, blow your nose before the test.

  3. Wash your hands and only hold the end of the swab opposite the soft swab tip

  4. Insert the soft swab tip between both inner cheeks and lower gums and turn the swab a few times.

  5. Then, rub the soft swab tip on your tongue as far back in your throat as you feel comfortable.

  6. Optional: Instead of swabbing your inner cheeks and tongue, you may choose to swab the back of your throat and tonsils. You can use a mirror to help see where to rub your swab.

  7. Tilt your head back and fully insert the soft swab tip straight back (not up) into your nose until you hit resistance (up to 2.5 cm). Make sure the soft swab tip is fully inside the nose.

  8. Rotate the swab several times against the wall of the nose and let it sit for a few seconds to absorb nasal secretions.

  9. Remove the swab from your nose and using the same swab, repeat for the other nostril.

  10. Immediately place the swab into the test tube following the kit instructions.

If only swabbing your nose (nasal method)

  1. If you have access to a facial tissue, blow your nose before the test.

  2. Wash your hands and only hold the end of the swab opposite the soft swab tip.

  3. Tilt your head back and fully insert the soft swab tip straight back (not up) into your nose until you

  4. hit resistance (up to 2.5 cm). Make sure the soft swab tip is fully inside the nose.

  5. Rotate the swab several times against the wall of the nose and let it sit for a few seconds to absorb nasal secretions.

  6. Remove the swab from your nose and using the same swab, repeat for the other nostril.

  7. Immediately place the swab into the test tube following the kit instructions.

Download the PDF here:

COVID-19RapidAntigenTests-HowtoCollectaSample Oral Nasal
.pdf
Download PDF • 470KB


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