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How to check if your expired at-home COVID test is still good to use

People have been asking about expired COVID-19 tests and if they are still accurate. We walk you through how you can check if they can be used.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friday is your last chance to order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the government. The federal government is ending the free at-home test program this week, citing a lack of funding. 

Many have been complaining about the program saying their tests expire in just a few months. But some say even after those tests expire, they're okay to use. Is that true?

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OUR SOURCES:

WHAT WE FOUND:

According to the FDA, many manufacturers have extended the shelf life of their rapid COVID-19 tests. They say the manufacturer provided data showing the shelf life is actually longer than was known when the test was first authorized. 

"The FDA does have a listing of those notifications by-product by the manufacture that you can look up the lot number, and you can extend the shelf life of the product," Dr. Washington said. 

Here is how to look up your lot number.

RELATED: Government to pause free COVID test orders soon

Go to the FDA website, look up the home OTC COVID-19 diagnostic test, and scroll to the bottom. You will see many COVID-19 test brands. Look at the box you received, and near the expiration date, there should be a lot number. Check to see if that lot number now has an extended shelf life.

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You can also call the COVID-19 hotline, and they will assist you in finding that lot number and if that expiration date is extended. 

Dr. Washington tells WCNC that if there is no extension date and it is expired, do not use the test. 

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"You want to make sure that you confirm the lot number, but if you can't confirm anything, then I would advise you not to use it," Dr. Washington said. 

If you need more tests, the county is still offering them for free. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

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