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At-home COVID-19 tests can be hard to find — but these FDA-authorized options are still in stock

We may receive commission from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. These at-home COVID-19 tests are currently in stock. (Photo: CVS) At-home COVID-19 tests allow you to know your COVID status, whether you’ve developed symptoms of the virus or recently had close contact with someone who is infected. The problem is, these tests can be hard to find.

While at-home COVID-19 tests are now available to the general public at pharmacies, larger retailers and even grocery stores and online, they often fly off shelves as soon as they’re stocked. CVS even has a message on its website, urging people to check back daily if a particular test they’re interested in is out of stock, noting that it could be available again the next day.

Still, if you can find one, it’s a good idea to grab it. "It makes sense to have a kit on-hand so it’s there if needed," Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Life.

Some tests have been granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is a designation used during public health emergencies — like a global pandemic — that says the FDA recognizes that these tests can be used to diagnose COVID-19 and that certain criteria have been met. It’s different from an full FDA approval, which typically comes only after a longer period of time has passed and more data is collected.

If you’ve never used an at-home COVID-19 test, you probably have some questions about what, exactly, these are and how they work.

There’s some variation with at-home COVID-19 tests and how they work, but rapid tests are the most common type. (Some tests will have you collect a specimen and mail it to a lab, where it will be analyzed, but these are less popular, given that they take longer to get results.) BinaxNOW delivers results in just 15 minutes. (Photo: Abbott) Most at-home tests will have you do a nasal swab, per the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but others will ask you to give a saliva sample. Every test is different, so it’s important to read the instructions carefully before you test and while looking at results, the CDC says.

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