At-home Covid-19 test kits come with swabs, a test module, and a small vial of test solution, which is meant to be used after you swab your nostrils. But according to the FDA, some people have dipped the swab in the solution before inserting it in their nose. Others have used the solution as eye drops. And some people (usually little kids) have swallowed the solution. That's not safe because "the liquid solution in some tests may contain chemicals like sodium azide, which may cause harm if swallowed or if it comes in contact with skin, nose, mouth, or eyes."
From the FDA update:
Avoid Potential Harm from Incorrect Use of At-Home COVID-19 Tests
At-home COVID-19 diagnostic test kits include different parts such as a test cartridge, nasal swab, and small plastic vials containing liquid solutions needed to perform the test. The liquid solutions may include chemical ingredients, such as sodium azide, that help the test work properly or act as preservatives. The test chemicals can be irritating or toxic if they get on your skin, nose, or eyes or if they are swallowed.
The FDA has received reports of injuries caused by incorrect use of at-home COVID-19 tests, including:
- Injuries caused by people accidently putting liquid test solution in their eyes when small vials of test solution were mistaken for eye drops.
- Injuries caused by placing nasal collection swabs into the liquid solution prior to swabbing the nose (the liquid solution is not supposed to touch your body).
- Injuries caused by children putting test parts in their mouth and swallowing liquid test solution.
[via Ars Technica]