A KILWINNING carer is reminding residents its still important to get tested regularly even if they don’t have Covid-19 symptoms – with self-test kits readily available from the NHS online.

Nairn McDonald, an unpaid carer, has told how doing the regular test is a lot easier to cope with than catching Covid.

He said: “I get tested because I’m an unpaid carer and I have to make sure I’m not taking the virus on to the vulnerable family member I take care of.

“But also I don’t want to be going in to the community and spreading around the virus.

“It’s easy to take a test, but I’m not going to lie and say it’s pleasant.

“It’s still a bit of a weird feeling, sticking something up your nose, or down the back of your throat. But it’s a lot easier than getting Covid.”

It’s simple to get a rapid coronavirus (Covid-19) testing kit, with three options to choose from. Resident can pick up a LFT kit at an NHS test sites or from participating community pharmacies as well as requesting a test kit to be sent to a home address.

Or people can get tested or pick up a lateral flow test (LFT) kit at a test site.

Members of the public across Ayrshire have been sharing their stories with the NHS about why they get tested.

Susan McEwan works in Rowantree Court Sheltered Housing complex in Drongan. She says: “I get tested twice a week to keep myself safe and to keep the residents of Rowantree Court safe.

“It’s sometimes uncomfortable, but not hard. There’s no problem in taking it. It’s absolutely fine.”

Faith Young, from Ayr, works for the South Ayrshire Champions Board, added: “I get tested because I work with young children, a lot of whom are quite vulnerable, and I want to make sure that I’m a safe person for them to be around. I also have close family members who are disabled and high risk, and so for me to be able to see them, I need to make sure that I’m safe to be around.

“I test myself around three times a week. If I’m going out somewhere that I know I’ll be around a lot of people, I’ll test before that just to be safe.

“It’s really easy to get hold of a test. I get mine from the government website.

“I just go online and literally put in my address and my name, and it’s straight to my door. Mine arrived within 24 hours.

“Try to say as calm as possible. I’ve found having a little mirror helps make sure you are hitting the right area with the swabs.”

You can hear more about Susan’s, Nairn’s, Faith’s and Suzanne’s stories, by watching one of our short YouTube videos: · Two-minute video: https://youtu.be/gcpHkHoaf38 · Six-minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HKpocrMfe4

Lisa Davidson, assistant director of public health for NHS Ayrshire & Arran, explains: “Testing helps us to identify more cases of the virus and gives us all a better chance of stopping it from spreading.

“Even those who are fully vaccinated should get tested regularly – this means twice a week. If you are a key worker and must attend work, it is even more important to get tested regularly.

“I’d like to thank Susan, Nairn, Faith and Suzanne for sharing their stories. It is great to hear their reasons for taking regular tests, and also explaining the process.”

You can collect a test kit from participating community pharmacies. To find the pharmacy nearest to you, you can visit https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/.

Alternatively, you can arrange to have a LFD test kit delivered to your home. To order a test, visit: test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/order-lateral-flow-kits/. The order will contain one pack with seven LFD tests inside, and it will be delivered to a home address in one to two days.

You can also pick up a test from at one of our test sites, or at one of our vaccine clinics. For details of these sites, visit https://www.nhsaaa.net/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/.

Lisa Davidson adds: “Remember that LFT kits are only for those with no symptoms. If you have symptoms, or have been identified as a close contact, you need to have a PCR test. You should book this via nhsinform.scot or by calling 0800 028 2816.

“If you are unvaccinated or are due a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine it is not too late to get the protection offered by the vaccine before the winter time. Everyone age 12 and over is now eligible.”

Testing using lateral flow devices can give people their results in around 30 minutes. Any positive cases will then be confirmed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Anyone who receives a positive LFD or PCR test result will be asked to self-isolate. Dedicated support is available to anyone who needs to self-isolate, including food packages and financial support: · East Ayrshire: https://eastayrshi.re/covidsupport · North Ayrshire: https://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/Coronavirus.aspx · South Ayrshire: https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

Further advice and information on what support is available for people who need to self-isolate is available from nhsinform.scot.