Pat B., a web designer in upstate New York, didn’t think much of it when she got a sinus infection the first week at her new job. Two months later, she got another one. Then the muscle cramping began. “I would try to walk at lunch time and my hips would cramp so bad I had to go back,” she recalls. “As soon as I entered the building, it felt like the breath was sucked out of me.”
After batteries of tests, she went on a leave of absence and the symptoms leveled off. When she returned, her throat started burning the minute she stepped into the building.
“The ceiling tiles were moldy, everything was wet,” she says. “I could smell formaldehyde and so could one other person.” Eventually, Pat was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease, an ailment that had already killed a young, athletic male co-worker. She is convinced the building she worked in caused her illnesses. culled from WebMD
The sick building syndrome (SBS) is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building. No specific illness or cause can be identified. The complainants may be localized in a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building
Signs and Symptoms include:
Dizziness, nausea, headache, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itching skin, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, sensitivity to odors, hoarseness of voice, allergies, cold, flu-like symptoms, increased incidence of asthma attacks and personality changes.
The cause of the symptoms is not known, Most of the complainants report relief soon after leaving the building.
what are the causes of sick building syndrome
- Synthetic insulation
- Poor circulation and lack of fresh air
- Paint fumes
- Dust mites
- Synthetic carpet outgassing
- Pet dander
- Toxic household cleaners
- Fabric outgassing
- Natural gas and carbon dioxide
- Construction materials
- Bacteria from toilet bowl
- Mold and mildew
- Lead or toxic paint
- Carbon monoxide
- Oil and gas fumes
What Can I Do About Sick Building Syndrome?
If you think your home or office may be causing sick building syndrome, you need to improve the quality within. Once the building stops giving off toxins, your symptoms should go away. Sometimes this is easier said than done, and, depending on the scale of the problem, might require a massive renovation and replacement of toxic building materials with non-toxic replacements.
In some situations, an air purification system or even quick and simple methods may work. Nature has very powerful tools to clean the air. The natural negative ionization and UV waves from sunlight work wonders and opening the blinds to let in some rays is an easy way to reap those benefits. Additionally, open the windows and doors and let the ozone and negative ions help remove toxins from the air.
Avoid toxic room sprays and deodorizers. There are natural alternatives for air fresheners, cleansers and other chemical toxins used to cleanse the home. Live plants can absorb toxins right from the air! Good choices of plants are peace lilies, golden pothos, and dracaenas.
Have you dealt with sick building syndrome? How did you solve the problem? Leave a comment below and share your experience with us.