Sometimes Feng Shui is not enough to create the perfect balance between you and your office. You can feel sick in the building without any reason and it’s not a geomancy matter. It’s not even a question of ghosts, bad spirits or odd creatures you can see in Stranger Things or Fringe. It’s Sick Building Syndrome.
What are the symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome?
Sick Building Syndrome or Sick Office Syndrome or Sick Syndrome (SBS) “comprises of various nonspecific symptoms that occur in the occupants of a building”. This term describes unexplained inhabitants’ sickness during their permanence in a specific building. But as soon as they leave the construction, the symptoms suddenly disappear.
Along with Legionella, Pneumonitis, and Asthma, SBS is one of the Building-Related Illnesses (BRI), which refers to “defined illness with a known causative agent resulting from exposure to the building air”. It may happen at home or at work and it is very difficult to diagnose as it presents a complex of various symptoms that even inhabitants themselves are less likely to lead to the construction.
As it is a chronical condition, the more you are exposed to it, the more it worsens your health. People who suffer from SBS have a consistent relief and a rapid recovery as soon as they leave the edifice. The syndrome can affect a few very sensitive people in the building to almost everyone. You can also found it only in a specific part of the entire structure.
Sick Building Syndrom most common signs
- Stuffy noses
- Itchy eyes
- Sinus infections
- Scratchy throat
- Dry/irritated skin
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
As there is not a specific test to know if it is really SBS and these symptoms may include illness contracted outside the building it is absolutely necessary to seek the medical advice to further investigations and to treat it at best.
What are the causes of Sick Building Syndrome?
The first time we hear about SBS is in the 70s, the period of the energy crisis, which according to some researchers may be linked. During that period some energy-saving politics were activated that increased the use of insulating materials and lowered the standard ventilation standard for HVAC systems.
As a result, air-tightness and low ventilation caused Sick Building Syndrome and deterioration of health issues such as asthma, allergies, pneumonia, etc. Moreover, the pollutants can’t go out if the air is trapped inside, so indoor air pollution is more likely to make people sick. There are several airborne toxic agents that can be found inside a building among those, the most important are:
- Chemical Contaminants as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) can be found in a great quantity of the objects are found at home, either personal than household ones;
- Biological Contaminants like mold, bacteria, and virus can be found especially when there is a water leakage or a proliferation of insects;
- Inadequate Ventilation is another cause of bad air, it may be caused by an old HVAC or building insulation;
- Inadequate temperature, humidity or lighting can increase mites, dust, and other pollutants.
Sick Building Syndrome Prevention
Feeling good at home or work matters as we stay indoors almost 90% of our entire life. Breathing good air is critical for everyone as it can improve our lives and avoid diseases such as Sick Building Syndrome. It may sound difficult, but there are some super easy things you can do to get rid of pollution at home.