Why Are Self-Tests Beneficial In Autumn And Winter?

Why Are Self-Tests Beneficial In Autumn And Winter?

The autumn and winter season is always a great challenge for our immunity and the fight against various types of infections, in both social and private contexts. Every year specialists warn that it is crucial to take special interest in preventive measures and minimising the spread of the infections, as far as different infectious diseases are concerned. Apparently, the upcoming autumn and winter season will be marked by a significant growth in the number of COVID-19 infections, as well as the number of influenza and strep A cases. 

Fortunately, thanks to appropriate prevention and the use of specialist knowledge, it is possible to minimise the impact of the most common infections on the society and, consequently, on the health of UK citizens. One of the most effective preventive measures is taking rapid tests, which are a reliable and adequate pre-diagnostic method in the case of common infections. What are the main benefits of self-testing and how could it be helpful in the context of popular diseases in autumn and winter?

Seasonal Infections in 2023: What You Need To Know

It comes as no surprise that seasonal transitions are usually marked with a heightened risk of infections, ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19. Nevertheless, it is inevitable to understand the causes of various infections, as well as their transmission patterns, in order to develop different public health strategies and predict the future infection peak seasons. 

As WHO quotes an expert, Dr Marc-Alain Widdowson, “COVID-19 remains an uncertain threat and new variants keep emerging. Across the WHO European Region, COVID-19 continues to cause infections, hospitalizations and deaths. It is also likely that COVID-19, influenza and RSV will be co-circulating this autumn and winter. This scenario is of concern as it would increase the risk to vulnerable populations and put further pressure on health services”.

Self-Tests and Seasonal Infections

Seasonal infections can strike swiftly, and early detection is key to preventing their spread and minimising their impact. Self-tests designed to identify common symptoms, such as fever, cough, and body aches, enable individuals to take prompt action. Timely intervention, such as isolation and seeking medical advice, can prevent the further transmission of the virus and support quick recovery. 

It is also vital to remember that the symptoms of various seasonal infections often overlap, making it challenging to pinpoint the exact diagnosis. Self-tests, however, can help in distinguishing between viral infections, facilitating patients to understand whether they are dealing with the flu, a cold, or another respiratory condition. This differentiation is crucial for appropriate and targeted treatment.

Another important aspect of self-testing during the infection peak season concerns the strain put on medical healthcare systems. By empowering patients to self-assess and manage mild cases of seasonal infections, the burden on healthcare systems is lightened. This allows medical professionals to focus on more severe cases and ensures that resources are directed where they are most needed, enhancing the overall efficiency of healthcare delivery during the challenging autumn and winter months.

Which Self-Test Should I Choose This Autumn And Winter?

The choice of the right self-test for autumn and winter is a highly individual decision, as it depends on various factors, including your health concerns, symptoms, and potential risk factors. Nonetheless, on the basis of the current statistics, it is possible to highlight the tests which could be the most effective in the upcoming months, in terms of public and social health.

In the context of the ongoing global situation, COVID-19 tests are crucial if you experience symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell. Regular testing may also be advisable if you have been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19. Another common infection in the colder months is strep A: sore throats are common during the colder months, and while many are caused by viral infections, some may be due to Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacteria responsible for strep throat. If you experience a severe sore throat, especially accompanied by fever and difficulty swallowing, a Strep A test can help determine if bacterial infection is present. Identifying strep throat early is crucial, as it may require antibiotic treatment. 

An equally important health aspect is the level of vitamin D, which may decrease in autumn and winter, due to limited exposure to sunlight. Thus, checking your vitamin D levels can be beneficial at this time. It is common knowledge that low levels of vitamin D are associated with weakened immune function, and supplementation may be necessary.


Keep in mind that embracing self-testing as a preventive strategy is essential for navigating the seasonal infection patterns, as well as taking proper care of both individual and public health.



  1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/20/can-we-now-treat-covid-like-a-cold-and-is-uk-still-tracking-numbers
  2. https://www.who.int/europe/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/covid-19--influenza--and-other-respiratory-viruses---2023-2024-autumn-and-winter-season
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/annual-flu-reports/surveillance-of-influenza-and-other-seasonal-respiratory-viruses-in-the-uk-winter-2022-to-2023