Do you wake up with itchy skin, itchy eyes and a runny nose? You may be allergic to dust mites. But how do you know whether you actually have dust mites in your home? Dust mite test kits can help you to answer this question and take action to get rid of them. Dust mite testing also lets you find out where the largest numbers of mites resides and allergens accumulate.
In a recent study, conducted in North Carolina by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 60 households with children suffering from dust mite allergies where randomly assigned to two groups. One group received commercially available dust mite test kits plus instructions on how to reduce dust mites in their house. The second group (control group) was only furnished with the instructions. The study duration was 12 months. Staff also collected samples and queried the households about their mite reduction measures at the start of the study, and again after 6 and 12 months.1,2
The result: Participants that were provided with test kits were generally surprised by how high the dust mite concentration in their home actually was. They achieved a significant reduction in dust mite allergens on their child’s bedroom and living room floor compared to the control group, which only had the educational material but no dust mite test kits.
To us, this result is hardly surprising. Dust mite testing motivates us to take consistent action based on real results rather than mere assumptions. We can assess ourselves whether measures like encasing our mattress and pillow cases with dust mite covers, removing carpets, plush toys and unnecessary clothes from the bedroom, and washing our sheets in hot water actually work.
How do you go about testing your home for dust mite allergens?
The Ventia Rapid Allergen Test is a commercially available dust mite test kit that tells you in 10 minutes whether your dust contains low, medium, or high levels of allergens. You don’t have to handle the dust yourself, but simply connect a dust collector tube to your vacuum cleaner. Typically, you collect samples from your mattresses, carpets, or bedding for two minutes. You add a testing liquid to the collector tube and transfer 5 drops onto a test cassette. The test cassette takes about 10 minutes to determine the level of mite allergens in your dust.
Depending on the result of the Ventia dust mite test kit, you then decide whether further action is necessary. Do you already have dust-mite proof covers and wash the sheets weekly, but couldn’t get yourself to remove the carpet from your bedroom?
Well, maybe it is time to do it now. Read our article “How to Control Dust Mites in Your Bedroom” for straight-forward, no-nonsense steps you can take now. As multiple studies have suggested, a concerted effort and consistently applied set of measures is much more effective if you are going to reduce allergen levels in your home.
1. NIEHS, “News Release: In-House Test Kits Help Motivate Parents to Reduce Allergens in Their Homes,” November 2, 2015, http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2015/november2/index.cfm.
2. Amber K. Winn et al., “Efficacy of an in-Home Test Kit in Reducing Dust Mite Allergen Levels: Results of a Randomized Controlled Pilot Study,” Journal of Asthma 53, no. 2 (February 7, 2016): 133–38, doi:10.3109/02770903.2015.1072721.