Test Kits

Test Kits

Individuals can now do many tests that once required a doctor or even a hospital visit in the comfort of their own homes. Some tests, such as genetic sequencing, must be sent off to a lab. Some still require consultation with a physician to interpret the results.

Others, such as pregnancy and drug tests, are available to anyone and provide results at home. And some, such as glucose tests, are a day-to-day part of life for people with chronic conditions. Below are some of the most common types of test kits and their uses.

Diabetes Test Kits
Glucose testing is a daily necessity for people with both type 1 and types 2 diabetes. Diabetes test kits consist of a glucose meter, lancets or other lancing device, test strips, and, optionally, alcohol wipes. After disinfecting the area to be lanced (usually a fingertip), the lancet or other device pricks the area to draw a blood drop.

The blood drop goes onto a glucose test strip, which goes into the glucose meter. The meter tests the blood drop and displays a glucose reading. You must use the correct brand/type of test strip for your glucose meter.

Pregnancy Tests
There are two types of pregnancy tests: urine tests, which may be done at home, and serum tests, which are blood type tests done by a medical professional.

Both types test for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (Hcg). The body begins to produce this hormone as early as seven days after conception and can often confirm pregnancy even before a woman has missed a menstrual period.

Drug Tests
Tests for detecting illicit drugs are a common prerequisite for employment and may be helpful after a work accident. Routine or random drug testing may also be part of the recovery plan for people suffering from addiction and may even be beneficial for parents concerned that a child may be using drugs.

There are a variety of types of over-the-counter drug tests, from those that test for single drugs such as oxycodone or MDMA to multi-drug panels. Drug tests use a urine sample for testing; some tests may include a temperature test strip to combat cheating.

Drug test kits can detect:
  • Amphetamines (meth)
  • Benzodiazepine (“downers”)
  • Cocaine (coke and crack)
  • Opiates
  • Cannabinoids (THC)
  • Barbiturates
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone or Subutex)
  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Phencyclidine (angel dust)
Make sure the test covers the drug you wish to test for; it will state it on the package.

COVID-19 Tests
Home COVID-19 tests are now available. Unlike the early invasive tests, home tests are gentle and use a sample taken from within the nostril to detect proteins from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, even if you are asymptomatic. A positive result indicates that you potentially have COVID-19 and should see a medical provider for a follow-up test.

Test kits can provide invaluable information, whether you’re monitoring your blood glucose or testing a new employee for drug use.