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Related: Lockdown Learning, discuss home schooling during lockdown.

Can you have Covid but test negative on LFT?

41 replies

donkhonk · 13/08/2022 07:39

Having escaped it so far, I thought Covid had finally hit our household. Pretty much every symptom going, but negative LFTs.

I know there are other viruses floating around, but this really does feel flu like and very not summer-y.

Can anyone shed any light?

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stuntbubbles · 13/08/2022 07:41

I’ve been poorly plenty of times and tested negative on LFTs, started to assume they just didn’t work. Then got tremendously ill this week and tested positive with the line coming up within seconds.

Yes, you can get false negatives but it’s far more likely it’s not Covid.

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Krank · 13/08/2022 07:41

LFTs are for people without symptoms. They are not accurate otherwise. They're barely accurate without.. how long have they been around and we have been told this and yet people still don't bloody listen?!

If you think you have covid stay in your house.

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LBF2020 · 13/08/2022 07:42

Yes, we were sure we had it again early this year. Negative on LFTs. PCRs were available at the time and they came back positive. Hope you feel better soon

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bluejelly · 13/08/2022 07:44

I had 3 days of negative LFT tests before testing positive on a PCR. The next day I got a positive LFT. I think they take a while to catch up sometimes!
Hope you feel better soon.

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donkhonk · 13/08/2022 07:44

Krank · 13/08/2022 07:41

LFTs are for people without symptoms. They are not accurate otherwise. They're barely accurate without.. how long have they been around and we have been told this and yet people still don't bloody listen?!

If you think you have covid stay in your house.

Well, I agree but it seems to be accepted practice now to use an LFT. Are PCRs even available now?

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dementedpixie · 13/08/2022 07:45

Krank · 13/08/2022 07:41

LFTs are for people without symptoms. They are not accurate otherwise. They're barely accurate without.. how long have they been around and we have been told this and yet people still don't bloody listen?!

If you think you have covid stay in your house.

LFTs are more accurate when you have symptoms. They picked up our covid infections a couple of days after symptoms started. I was negative on one day then positive the next

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dementedpixie · 13/08/2022 07:46

You can pay for a private PCR. You won't get an nhs one

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Herja · 13/08/2022 07:50

Friend was very ill and testing negative on LFT until tested in hospital. Very clear positive imediately on hospital tests. The same has happened to my mum a few times now too - she has regular poor health and hospital admissions: 3 now, she has tested clear at home, but positive on admission. So it can clearly happen!

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LittleGreenBeetle · 13/08/2022 07:57

Krank · 13/08/2022 07:41

LFTs are for people without symptoms. They are not accurate otherwise. They're barely accurate without.. how long have they been around and we have been told this and yet people still don't bloody listen?!

If you think you have covid stay in your house.

That's not true. They work very well in my experience, having had Covid twice now. They're just not as sensitive as PCR tests so might not pick up every case.

However if you've done multiple tests or if every member of the family is testing negative despite having symptoms, it's more likely it's not Covid. Four lateral flow tests are more likely to be right than one.

Are you swabbing your throat as well as your nose? Even if it's not in the instructions, research has shown that Covid tends to present in the throat first, so worth swabbing both; also make sure you cough and blow your nose before you test.

My household had a couple of really heavy and unpleasant colds earlier in the pandemic; we were able to get PCR tests at that time and to our surprise, despite feeling awful, all four of us tested negative on both occasions. When we did have Covid, the LFTs were positive immediately.,

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IsadoraQuagmire · 13/08/2022 08:05

Yes. I had covid last month and LFTs were negative on days 1 and 2 of symptoms. Didn't test again until day 4 and it was positive.

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RafaistheKingofClay · 13/08/2022 09:20

IsadoraQuagmire · 13/08/2022 08:05

Yes. I had covid last month and LFTs were negative on days 1 and 2 of symptoms. Didn't test again until day 4 and it was positive.

A lot of people I know who’ve had covid recently haven’t tested positive until days 3-4.

The trust I work for seem to be under the impression that LFTs are less likely to pick up the current strain than previous strains.

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Unattainablepeace · 13/08/2022 09:24

It's all about the timing with Lft. My ds tested negative whilst symptomatic and only tested positive the day after his symptoms disappeared which was day 4.

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Itsnotwhatitlookslike · 13/08/2022 09:26

Yes you can get a negative LFT but still have covid.

A friends whole family tested negative initially on LFT apart from one DC. This was when PCRs were still done. The whole family tested positive on PCR but out of a family of 6, only 1 ever got positive LFT.

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AKnitterofThings · 13/08/2022 09:30

Other flu viruses are available!

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Florelei · 13/08/2022 11:35

Yes, I had covid and passed it on to my DM. She had symptoms for three days before coming back positive.

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donkhonk · 13/08/2022 13:40

AKnitterofThings · 13/08/2022 09:30

Other flu viruses are available!

Yep, literally said that in my OP.

I think I'll take another test tomorrow and if that's negative, then I'll put it down to a random summer flu thing.

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ApplesandBunions · 13/08/2022 19:13

donkhonk · 13/08/2022 13:40

Yep, literally said that in my OP.

I think I'll take another test tomorrow and if that's negative, then I'll put it down to a random summer flu thing.

If you want to know, that's probably the best approach. False negatives exist, as do a wide variety of other viruses, and at this point it could really be either.

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For · 13/08/2022 19:25

Yes, I tested neg on daily lfts when I had covid. But DH and DC were positive and I had symptoms so I did a pcr which came back positive. But lfts could not work flr me…

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NeedToLeaveNow · 13/08/2022 19:31

I know plenty of people that have had negative LFT’s , but positive PCR’s

When my family of 8 got it, 5 positive on LFT straight away, only 1 had a headache initially
Myself, partner and 1 other had a positive after 2-4 days of people ill

Also, i never had a positive LFT in just the nose, as soon as i done the throat it was positive

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ShakespearesSisters · 13/08/2022 19:38

I tested positive last Sunday, only found out as I test for work. Told my cousin who I had been camping with. She then felt really rough midday, negative ltf, rough Tuesday negative ltf, lots better Wednesday and got a positive.

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Taiyo · 13/08/2022 19:52

AKnitterofThings · 13/08/2022 09:30

Other flu viruses are available!

But, let's face it, COVID is by far the most prevalent at the moment.

We had a COVID outbreak in our household, which was confirmed by PCR as we are abroad. The LFTs were really patchy and only tested positive when we were really sick.

I would say if you have symptoms, you most likely have COVID.

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Elieza · 13/08/2022 19:52

It can take a few days for a positive lfr to show up. If at all.

I know one person who tested negative on Friday Saturday and Sunday on a lft. She also had a pcr on the Saturday that was positive. So the lft was useless!

I tested negative on the first day of symptoms then positive on day 3.

I think it takes a few days to show up unless you have a high viral load.

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Wotcha23 · 13/08/2022 19:55

LittleGreenBeetle · 13/08/2022 07:57

That's not true. They work very well in my experience, having had Covid twice now. They're just not as sensitive as PCR tests so might not pick up every case.

However if you've done multiple tests or if every member of the family is testing negative despite having symptoms, it's more likely it's not Covid. Four lateral flow tests are more likely to be right than one.

Are you swabbing your throat as well as your nose? Even if it's not in the instructions, research has shown that Covid tends to present in the throat first, so worth swabbing both; also make sure you cough and blow your nose before you test.

My household had a couple of really heavy and unpleasant colds earlier in the pandemic; we were able to get PCR tests at that time and to our surprise, despite feeling awful, all four of us tested negative on both occasions. When we did have Covid, the LFTs were positive immediately.,

Agree. We’ve found them very good. When we’ve all had covid, LFTs have been positive. When we’ve all had colds in the household at the same time, they’ve never shown positive.

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Taiyo · 13/08/2022 19:58

Also, the only time I got a positive LFT was doing it first thing in the morning. I mean literally waking up and doing the test straight away when my throat was really disgusting.

Totally not scientific but maybe worth a try!

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Sunshineismyfriend · 13/08/2022 20:00

Yes. We were getting negative lft’s all week before we did our fit to fly and then that (pcr) came back positive.

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