Millions of Americans took advantage of ordering 4 free at-home COVID-19  tests from the federal government and they've been arriving in mailboxes for the last few days.

January 19th, 2022 was the first day that folks were able to order four free tests per household. The website says that they'll SHIP in 7 to 10 days but it appears that they have been ARRIVING in mailboxes 7 to 10 days after they're ordered online. Pretty quick!

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(It takes only seconds, really. I was surprised how simple a government website was! :-) )

The administration ordered A BILLION rapid tests, half of which are to be distributed in this direct-to-your-mailbox way. The rest will be distributed via phone and to local municipalities, or wherever the need is greatest.

So now that you have your 4 free tests, WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE A RAPID TEST? Well, according to the CDC and the official government ordering site:

  • "Take an at-⁠home test: If you begin having COVID-⁠19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
  • At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-⁠19, or
  • When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-⁠19 vaccines."

Rapid tests are VERY easy to take. About a month ago, I got quite sick and was convinced I had COVID-19. Three separate at-home tests later (taken appropriately a couple days apart) were all negative.

I DO recommend taking a minute to read the instructions completely before you start anything. Doing the test properly is crucial....a false positive or a false negative due to human error isn't going to do you any good.

(And no, the rapid tests are not 100% accurate.) That's why you can test AGAIN, or go get a more accurate test from your local health department.

DO YOU NEED TO GET VACCINATED OR BOOSTED? Find a site for vaccines near you here.

I'm not 100% sure if ALL of the free at-home tests from the government are the same brand. The picture shown here is a real picture of the tests delivered to my house.

TO BE CLEAR: These rapid tests DO NOT determine if you've had COVID-19 in the past OR if you have any sort of immunity.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

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