When it comes to common chronic conditions, allergies top the list. This is not just true in the United States, but worldwide. Therefore, it is important to understand what allergies are and what causes them. Once we have identified the root of the problem by testing for allergens in the home, for example, we can find a solution.
What are Allergies?
Allergies are caused by allergens—foreign objects entering our bodies. Our immune system mistakes these allergens as harmful invaders and reacts by producing antibodies. After traveling through the body to confront the allergen, these antibodies release a mix of histamine and other chemicals. This causes a reaction called allergic rhinitis. Many allergies exist in the air we breathe and the air inside your home is just as harmful as the air outside.
Allergens create poor indoor air quality. The good news is that testing for allergens in the home is an effective way to find and eliminate these particles. How do you know if you suffer from allergies and if there are allergens in your home? First, know what symptoms to look for.
Airborne allergens in the home affect the respiratory system. This includes the nose, throat, sinuses, and lungs. People with asthma, young children, and seniors are at a high risk as a result of exposure to allergens. Common allergens found in the home include mold, pollen, dust, and pet dander. These particles trigger the following symptoms:
- Coughing, wheezing, and sneezing
- Stuffy, itchy nose
- Nasal discharge
- Tightness in the chest
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Scratchy, sore throat
Not everyone experiences all of these symptoms and some family members may experience different symptoms than others. This makes home allergen test kits important in discovering the source of the allergy. It’s also important to note that longtime exposure to allergens poses further health risks. For example, asthma could develop unless the right steps are taken to improve indoor air quality. Testing is the first step. Once you know what allergens you are facing in your home, you can take any additional steps toward remediation.
If you or a family member experiences any of the above symptoms, it is important to consult an allergist or immunologist. These specialists have the training to identify the specific allergens that cause allergic reactions. They can also prescribe the proper form of treatment.
Just as a doctor runs tests to determine the cause of an illness, testing is also needed to find allergens in the home. A home allergen test kit is a DIY way to find the presence of dust, mold, fungi, smoke, even synthetic materials such as fiberglass.
Should I Test for Home Allergens?
Testing provides answers to the specific allergens causing the reaction. It gives homeowners the information needed to take action and remove the source. For example, if a home allergy test kit reveals the presence of mold in the home, then mold remediation is needed. Likewise, if the test reveals a high level of dust or dust mites, then an air purifier helps reduce these levels. Put simply, testing gives you the information you need to take action. No one should have to live with allergy symptoms.
Allergens in the home do not mean your home isn’t clean. The tiny particles that make up dust, for example, are always on the move. Even dusting with a feather duster scatters the dust and sends it back moving through the air. And when they do eventually land, the slightest motion sends them airborne again. So, while it’s not possible to prevent dust from forming, air purifiers help filter them out of the air. Other allergens, such as mold and bacteria, while also natural, can be prevented. A serious mold problem should be handled by professionals, but homeowners conduct their own DIY allergen testing with home kits.
What is a Home Allergen Test Kit?
Home allergen test kits are easy to use. They are also an inexpensive way to find out the source of your discomfort. It wasn’t long ago that finding which allergens existed in the home required a visit by a professional. This was a costly procedure and in some cases led to several visits. It could then take weeks to get the results. In the meantime, people suffered from their allergy symptoms.
Today, ordering a testing kit online is easy. Delivery is fast and collecting samples to send back is simple too. Homeowners collect samples with swabs then mail them to an environmental lab for analysis. Results arrive within 3-5 days. Once you have the results, the next step is to get cleaner indoor air.
A variety of air-cleaning devices exist to get cleaner indoor air. These include bipolar ionizers and air purifiers using HEPA filtration. Special vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters also reduce the number of allergens found in the home. These products help people take back control of their health and their homes. They create a better quality of life that is hard to put a price on.
The Risks of Indoor Air Pollution
Many people think that the inside air is cleaner than the outside air but the opposite is true. Not only that, but we spend most of our time inside—as much as 90 percent, in fact. This stresses the need for clean indoor air especially for high-risk people such as the elderly and young children. That said, even healthy people run a risk of experiencing asthma-like symptoms.
Scientists and medical professionals know the dangers of indoor air pollution. It’s linked to a number of health conditions including breathing problems, headaches, and an increase of colds, sore throats, and coughing. Other conditions include skin rashes and eye irritation. Lethargy, dizziness, and a loss of memory are not uncommon after exposure to indoor pollutants.
What Do DIY Home Allergen Kits Test For?
Home test kits are available for a number of different allergens. This includes naturally occurring compounds and gasses, but also man-made fibers and chemicals too.
It is not pleasant to think about but dust mites are everywhere. These tiny insects feed on dust in the home. Dust is a mix of dead skin cells, fibers, bacteria, pollen, dead insects, and more. Dust consists of particles in the home that break down into even smaller particles. They travel through the air and settle on surfaces. Dust gets disturbed by cleaning or the rush of air created when we walk through a room. This sends the particles back into the air again.
Another allergen associated with dust is dust mites. These tiny insects feed on the dead skin cells that make up dust. Dust mites won’t bite you, but when they come into contact with skin, they cause irritation. They also make asthma symptoms worse and cause respiratory issues. Additional symptoms caused by dust mites are headaches and eye irritation. The waste dust mites leave behind is also an allergen for many people. A Dust Mite Test Kit alerts homeowners to the presence of dust mites and allows them to take steps to reduce their numbers.
We love our pets, but there are some drawbacks to living with animals. When your pet sheds, that causes problems for human companions. Whether it’s feathers or fur, the resulting pet dander is a common allergen found in the home. In addition to these skin cells, proteins found in saliva and waste also trigger allergic reactions in some pet owners. After pet dander goes airborne, it can attach to clothing and get buried deep down into carpeting, upholstery, curtains, and drapes.
Smoke comes from several sources. It is produced by fireplaces and from the burning of tobacco in pipes, cigars, and cigarettes. It can also travel thousands of miles from active wildfires. Smoke creates unhealthy indoor air with serious consequences. Smoke contains a mix of burnt matter both organic and chemical. Organic matter is the vegetation from forest fires, but other matter and gases are released as fires burn through buildings. It is now believed that wildfire smoke also carries microbes. A smoke particulate test is the best way to detect smoke in the home.
Smoke inhalation symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Stinging eyes
- A scratchy throat and runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Fast heartbeat
Fungi are everywhere. They exist in nature and we seldom take any notice of them. However, the presence of fungi in the home leads to health problems for many people. Fungi produce spores that travel through the air. Unless they are controlled they reduce indoor air quality. A home test kit to detect fungi lets homeowners know they need to take steps to eliminate the problem.
Symptoms of fungi and mold allergies include:
- Nasal and sinus irritation
- dry hacking cough and wheezing
- Skin irritation including rashes
- Burning, watery or red eyes
- Shortness of breath
Molds are also fungi. They need moisture to grow but when the right conditions exist in the home that growth is fast. Mold colonies spread through the release of tiny spores. These spores travel through the home and attach themselves to clothing, furniture, carpeting, even your pets.
Identifying the conditions causing a mold problem is needed, but first, testing gives homeowners information on what they are dealing with. Getting rid of a mold problem improves indoor air quality. A DIY home test kit for mold detects mold in the home. Order a test kit if you notice a musty odor in your home. If you’ve had plumbing leaks or periods of heavy rain or flooding, this is also a good time to test for mold. Mold is a problem for allergy and asthma sufferers, but it could also lead to longer health issues.
Three categories of mold include:
Allergenic mold triggers allergy symptoms. While this results in discomfort it is not likely to lead to illness. Pathogenic molds put people at risk of infection especially those with compromised immune systems. Of course, toxic mold poses a threat to all humans and animals that come into contact with it. Therefore, it is important to test for these types of allergens in the home, then eliminate them.
Fiberglass is not something many of us think of when it comes to allergens. That said, this material is found in much of the material used to insulate homes. The tiny fibers, used to make insulation, break down and come loose. They then move through the ductwork of HVAC systems where they travel through the air, eventually falling onto surfaces throughout the home. A fiberglass test kit is the best way to determine the presence of fiberglass in your home. This affordable kit is easy to use and gets results fast.
Like dust and mold, bugs and insects are a part of life as well, but when cockroaches invade the home, that is disturbing on several levels. These insects trigger feelings of disgust in homeowners. Not only that but their saliva and waste contain a protein that triggers allergic reactions in some people. Part of dead and decaying insects also mix with other particles in dust. Even though you may never see a cockroach in your home, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They come out at night but scurry away at the flick of a light switch. A home allergen kit tests for concentrations of insect parts as well as intact dust mites. Take this first step and test your home for concentrations of insect matter. After you get the results, you’ll need to make the decision of whether to hire a professional or take care of the problem yourself.
Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are produced by some molds and fungi. These substances are harmful to humans and animals. They’re found in cereals, nuts, and fruits. They could form after or before harvesting and they survive food processing. They thrive in moist, warm conditions. Mycotoxins enter the body through the respiratory system. They contain a chemical called cytotoxin which causes cell disruption. Some mycotoxins cause cancer. A Mycotoxin Test Kit establishes the extent of exposure to these toxins.
Radon is colorless and odorless. This natural gas enters the home through cracks in walls around doors and windows. It enters through drains and fitting as well. Radon is radioactive and is linked to lung cancer. A radon test gives lets a homeowner rest easy knowing their family is safe.
Formaldehyde is a gas. It has a pungent odor and is used as a glue to hold wood and fabrics together. Home furnishing that could release formaldehyde gases include:
- Flooring materials
Screen for formaldehyde and get results. Once concentration levels are established you can take steps to remove the source of exposure.
About the EDLab
After collecting samples, homeowners send them to an environmental laboratory for analysis. The EDLab at Pure Air Control Services screens the samples. Located in Clearwater, Florida, the lab provides professional environmental sample testing to help owners of commercial and residential buildings. This service analyzes samples for levels of chemicals, microbes, and allergens. They also test for viruses like Legionella, staph, E.coli, and the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. After completing their analysis, the EDLab issues a report of their findings to the homeowner. This report provides the homeowner with the information they need to move forward and eliminate the source of the allergens.
What to Do After Home Allergen Testing
Once an allergen problem is discovered steps can be taken to remove them. At the very least, homeowners must take action to limit their impact. The health and wellbeing of your family depend on it. It keeps visitors to the home safe, especially those who may be at high risk such as seniors and young children.
Bipolar Ionization is one way to remove allergens from the air. These devices fit into existing HVAC systems. Once in operation, they release millions of tiny atoms called ions. These atoms have either a positive or negative charge. After release into the ductwork, they travel until they meet a microbe such as a mold or a virus. The ions cluster around the particle and kill it. Once destroyed the particle is easy to capture in HEPA filters.
The PURE-Plasma Air 600 is a home ionizer that protects your family from pathogens. It removes allergens and lets home occupants breathe cleaner air. After you test for allergens in the home, consider using a home ionizer to eliminate them. PURE-Plasma Air 600’s compact design makes DIY installation easy. It fits with any size HVAC system and a single ionizer covers up to 2000 square feet. These devices are easy to maintain and don’t require the replacement of expensive filters.
Common Indoor Contaminants
In addition to allergens, common indoor contaminants include:
- Indoor Particulate Matter (dust, soot, pollen)
- Carbon Monoxide
One air purifier ionizer in the home protects areas up to 2,000 square feet.
Proper Ventilation is Not Enough
It’s important to have proper ventilation inside the home. Even so, HVAC systems help allergens travel throughout the home. It is important to maintain the right temperatures and humidity levels as well. This prevents mold and fungi from growing. Bacteria and viruses also pose a threat to health. Chemicals from building materials or that enter the home through windows, doors, and foundation cracks also pose a threat.
Testing for microbes, chemicals, and gasses limits their presence and the damage they cause to our health. Home testing for allergens and other particles is an important first step. Testing for fungi, mold, bacteria, and viruses are available as well. Tests for chemicals such as formaldehyde and radon give homeowners control of their indoor air quality.
Improving IAQ with A Home Allergen Test Kit
After you’ve performed testing with a home allergen test kit, the next question is what to do about it. Of course, the air quality in the home needs improving and there are commercially available products to do it. For example, a PURE Plasma Air cleaning device uses bipolar ionization to filter harmful particles from the air. These machines reduce pet dander, bacteria, and airborne viruses while controlling VOCs and eliminating odors. Going forward, improving ventilation is an important step. Maintaining HVAC systems helps as well as better storage of chemicals and cleaning products in the home.
Home Allergen Test Kits for Residential Use
DIY allergen tests, like the kits sold by Indoor Air Test, improve the air quality in your home. These tests no longer serve commercial businesses alone. That said, many businesses, such as schools, universities, hospitals, and government facilities use similar tests. If you suspect that allergens in your home are the cause of your ill health, order a test kit. and find out. Start by asking yourself a few questions about the possible symptoms you experience inside your home.
Questions to Ask Yourself
If you suspect you suffer from the effects of poor indoor air quality, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I get headaches or feel ill when I am at home?
- Are my existing allergies or asthma-related symptoms getting worse at home?
- Do I get short of breath, experience irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin while at home?
- Does my coughing, sneezing, or congestion worsen while at home?
- Do I have memory loss, fatigue, dizziness, or feel depressed?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it’s time to order a home allergen test kit and find out. These simple tests give you answers fast. Once you know what allergens are causing you discomfort, you can make a plan to eliminate them and start breathing cleaner air.
Order Your Home Allergen Test Kit Today
Don’t wait for allergens to impact your health or that of your family. Find out the source and eliminate allergens with an allergen home test kit. Order your screening kits today and call us with questions at 727-572-4550 with questions.