The test is simple to do and the results appear within 20 minutes. / sur

Self-testing kits to distinguish between flu and Covid now available from chemists in Spain: this is how they work

Public health experts are warning that this will be a bad winter for flu and these tests mean that anyone with symptoms can check to see if they have Influenza A, Influenza B, Covid-19 or none of them


Flu (influenza) and Covid-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses and have similar symptoms such as fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, tiredness, sore throat, mucous, muscle pain, headache and loss of smell and taste, among others, but they are caused by different viruses. This means that someone with these symptoms cannot be sure which one they have caught.

However, chemists in Spain now have a test which can tell the difference and it means that anyone who suspects they have flu or Covid is able to take one of these tests at home to find out. They determine whether the cause of the symptoms is influenza A, influenza B or Covid.

They work exactly the same way as the rapid Covid tests. A nasal swab is taken and placed in a tube with reactive liquid, and then a few drops are put onto the testing strip. In 20 minutes each virus will be marked either positive or negative.

Price capped

There will be a control line and three test lines: one for influenza A, one for influenza B and a third for Covid-19.

If the test has been carried out correctly, the control line (C) will always appear. If a red line appears for Covid (it can be identified with different letters of the alphabet, for example T or S), the person can take it that they have Covid depending on the intensity of the line. The same goes for influenza A and B. If there is a red line, the result is positive. If the control line is red and the other three are white, there is no flu or Covid infection.

The test should be carried out within seven days of the first symptoms appearing, although it can also be done by people with no symptoms. With regard to the price, this is capped at 2.94 euros.