Skip to main content

How to take the test and what to do with your results.

First published:
23 February 2021
Last updated:


Lateral flow test (LFTs) are used to identify people with COVID-19.

LFTs are easy to use and give results in 10 to 30 minutes depending on which type of test you have.

How lateral flow testing works

Lateral flow is an established technology, adapted to detect proteins that are present when a person has COVID-19. The best-known example of a lateral flow test is the home pregnancy test kit.

The test kit is a hand-held device with an absorbent pad at one end and a reading window at the other. Inside the device is a strip of test paper that changes colour if COVID-19 proteins are present.

How to take the COVID-19 lateral flow test

Check the expiry date before you do the test. Do not use out of date tests.

A step by step guide to COVID-19 self testing for the Getein Biotech nose-only test can be accessed here. If you have a different brand of test, please ensure you follow the instructions in the box.

These instructions can be also found in different languages, and more accessible formats. This includes easy read, audio, braille, large and giant print.

If you have a different brand of test, please ensure you follow the instructions in the box.

What to do with your results

If you test positive and are eligible for treatments, report it via the NHS 111 Wales COVID-19 Antiviral Self-Referral Form. Or if you don’t have internet access, call 111. You can find further guidance on reporting test results and accessing treatment on our COVID-19 treatments pages.

If you are not eligible for COVID-19 treatments and your result is positive please do not report your results on any government, or NHS web pages. You should stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you no longer feel unwell. Do not visit care homes, hospitals or places where you know there are people at higher risk from COVID-19. Read our guidance for people with respiratory infections, including COVID-19.