Sick building syndrome is a term used to describe illnesses and symptoms of an illness brought on by an enclosed space that is noted for its poor indoor air quality, though the cause of it is sometimes unknown. Those who live in or work in a space where the air quality is bad are at a high risk of developing numerous health complications, including respiratory illness, trouble breathing, headaches, and fatigue. What is sick building syndrome, and could it be happening in your home?
Understanding What Sick Building Syndrome Is
Sick building syndrome is often used to describe a set of health-related symptoms that a person has that are related to the air quality but that may not be easy to pinpoint. For example, a person may have headaches, fatigue, a sore throat, or other types of common ailments that, when pulled together, could indicate a larger problem. In this case, those symptoms often indicate that a person is exposed to poor indoor air quality.
This condition is also complicated because the way it impacts people can differ from one person to the next and may worsen or improve for various reasons. Workers may struggle with productivity or may be ill at a higher rate and frequency than what is typical in other environments. In some situations, health conditions improve when people are not within that space, providing further evidence that it is the space that is causing their illness.
Though hard to identify, if you can pinpoint sick building syndrome as the cause of your illness or other health matters, it is critical to take action. That often means finding a way to improve air quality within that space, such as the use of indoor air quality systems, while also working to find any problems present to fix. That could include the presence of mold, mildew, or other toxins that can impact overall health.
How Does Sick Building Syndrome Impact a Person?
One of the most unique factors about sick building syndrome is that it impacts people in various ways and can change over time. However, this condition typically impacts a person’s wellbeing in some way, often with respiratory-related conditions, but also skin damage and irritation and the risk of mental health challenges. A rather complex condition, it often impacts people who are in an area with limited ventilation.
Many times, people will experience some type of acute discomfort in the space, such as throat or eye irritation, dizziness, dry coughs, or fatigue. Other times, individuals may experience a cough, chest tightness, illness related to fevers and chills, and muscle pain. Some people will experience the onset of intense scents and uncomfortable breathing conditions, while others in that space may not complain about as many conditions.
The key to remember about this condition is that, without improvement, it can impact a person’s health, including causing damage to the lungs and respiratory system, impacting skin health, and even creating risks to cognitive function and brain health. All of this often stems from the exposure to toxins within that space and a lack of airflow to allow for clean air to filter through the area. Indoor air quality problems can worsen over time, too, making it likely that a person will experience worsening symptoms over time.
What Can Be Done About Sick Building Syndrome?
There are several tasks to consider here, and the first is for the individual to seek out help from a medical provider for any type of long-lasting symptoms that could indicate health complications or the onset of disease. Aside from taking care of your health symptoms, the second step is to work on improving the quality of air in your home or the building itself in several ways. Often, this means starting with the improvement of current in-place ventilation systems while also working to use air cleaners to filter out some of the “bad” that is present.
Improving the heating and cooling system, along with the ventilation system as a whole in the building, is an important step. This often means getting the air ducts cleaned, removing all filters from the heating and cooling system to replace them, and working to handle any type of gas leaks or other damage to the function of the HVAC system.
Then, the investment in an air cleaner can also help, especially if it is a whole-house or whole-building system designed to provide ample relief to the overall quality of air within the area. It is key to invest in a higher quality system that is capable of pulling out more of the underlying health contaminants from these systems, and that often means having an air cleaner professionally installed to address specific needs. Having an air test to pinpoint any areas of concern is also present.
What Is in Your Home that Is Making You Sick?
You may have no idea what could be making you sick in your home, but you can find out by having your heating and cooling team come out to conduct an air quality test. This test can open your eyes to any contaminants present in the home that could be behind your illnesses and ongoing struggles with headaches, fatigue, and mental clarity. It is always a good idea to seek out a test of your air quality if your family members have suffered from these types of illnesses or you just purchased the home and want to find out what is present.
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Let Our Team Offer the Help and Guidance You Need to Improve Your Quality
At Ambient Edge, we offer a wide range of solutions to help improve your home or building air quality, including the installation of air cleaners and full HVAC inspection and repair as needed. Let us provide you with solutions to find out what is happening in your home so we can ensure you remain healthy. Schedule an appointment with our team to discuss sick building syndrome and the risks to you and your health from it.