COVID testing has come a long way since the early days of the pandemic. Testing is now widely available, and there are even several brands of at-home tests that you can purchase over the counter and take on your own time. These at-home tests do have their place. They're convenient in a pinch, and they're affordable. However, there are still some very good reasons to opt for a professional test, done at your doctor's office or a testing site, when possible. Take a look:
Professional tests are usually more accurate.
With at-home tests, there is a chance of getting a false negative. This means that you have COVID, but the test is showing that you don't. Getting a false negative could mean you falsely assume you don't have COVID, go out in public, and spread the virus to others who are susceptible. Professionally done tests are usually PCR tests. This is considered the "gold standard" of testing and comes with a lower risk of a false negative. In other words, you can have more confidence in the accuracy of a professionally done test than the one you take at home.
Professional tests are administered by someone with training.
Administering an at-home COVID test yourself is not exactly difficult, but there is some room for error. You have to make sure you put the swab deep enough in your nostril, for example. You also have to "read" the test to determine your results. If you are worried you might make an error, or if you are someone who often struggles to follow directions, it might be easier to just get a test done by a professional. You know they have the skills to do it correctly.
Professional test results are usually reported to health departments.
Your local health department is likely keeping COVID data related to testing and test results. Your state government may be doing the same. This sort of data is used for research that will inform the future of health policies in your locale and state. When you get a test done professionally, the results are generally reported to these agencies. This means you get to play an important role in ongoing research into COVID.
If you think you might have COVID, consider having a test performed at a professional testing site. These tests have a number of advantages over at-home tests when you're able to get one.
For more info about COVID tests, contact a local doctor.