TEMPLE, Texas – With the surge of COVID-19 cases, many are using at-home tests in a different way than the CDC recommends.

“Swabbing the throat at home if you’re not a health care professional really can have some damaging affects,” Dr. Tresa McNeal said, a Hospitalist Physician at Baylor Scott & White Temple.

Many are using at home COVID-19 tests to swab the back of their throats to test for the virus, rather than swabbing the inside of the nostril.

“These tests are really designed and approved by the FDA to be used in the way that their instructions would tell a person to collect the sample, be that in their nose or like with a saliva sample for those at home tests,” she said. “I would be concerned about the general public swabbing their throats. This is usually something that we would leave to a health care professional.”

Dr. McNeal said the validity of the test would not change dependent on whether you swab your nose or throat but her biggest concern was people injuring themselves in the process.

She also said that if you have symptoms and are testing negative at home, you could still be positive for the virus.

“You can actually consider retesting again at home in twelve hours or so,” she said. “And I would recommend even if you’re having those symptoms, you know it’s ok to contact your primary care physician.”

Dr. McNeal recommended the Baylor Scott & White digital medical journey app for those who may need some more information before getting a test.

She also asked that if you are looking for testing to use the application or contact 2-1-1 instead of going to their emergency department.