UPMC Expert Warns About Potential Hazard with At-Home COVID-19 Tests

By: Sierra Lomax

While at-home COVID-19 tests are becoming more widely available, parents of young children should take note that some of the test kit materials can pose potential harm.

“The fluid in the at-home tests is essential to rendering either a positive or negative test, but when ingested, it’s a poison, if you will,” said Dr. Tony Pizon, the chief of medical toxicology at UPMC and medical director at the Pittsburgh Poison Center.

It’s important that people only use the test fluid in the at-home test kits as directed and ensure that, like all chemicals, the test kits are far out of reach of small children.

Although the chemicals are not known to be lethal, parents should contact the poison center if their child ingests it. “People may experience dizziness, lightheadedness or a headache, and in some cases, there could be more serious symptoms.”

“Be mindful of the risks and keep the tests out of the reach of kids unless you are actively performing the test,” said Pizon.

Another warning is to not confuse the test liquid vile and dropper for other medicinal eye drops.

“With some of the COVID tests, that little dropper looks like an eye dropper, and silly things happen,” Pizon said.

For additional information, or if you encounter an accidental poison exposure, contact the Pittsburgh Poison Center at (1-800) 222-1222.