Is your building “sick”? If you suffer from skin- and respiratory-related ailments like headaches, stuffy heads, dry skin and skin irritation, sinus infections, difficulty concentrating and more—which disappear when you leave the building—you might be dealing with sick building syndrome in Northern PA.
Here’s an overview of the condition, and what you can do to mitigate it.
How can a building be sick?
Sick building syndrome boils down to poor indoor air quality, which can happen for a number of reasons. Carpets, paint, upholstery and more can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for years after they’re installed. If the building you’re in has a lot of insulation, double- and triple-paned windows and significant weatherstripping, it can make the building feel airtight. While it’s great for reducing your energy costs, it reduces the amount of fresh air circulating. Any harmful chemicals or vapors are stuck inside the building, and can make the occupants feel quite sick.
Symptoms of sick building syndrome
Symptoms of sick building syndrome usually manifest similarly to a cold or the flu. You might experience fever, chills, headaches, sinus infections, dry or irritated skin, worsening allergies, coughing, sneezing and body aches. Some people are nauseated, have difficulty concentrating and seem more forgetful than normal.
Since it’s hard to pinpoint a single cause of these symptoms, sick building syndrome is often not diagnosed properly. In many cases, it’s not until the occupant leaves the building that they start feeling better. Whether it’s your home or office, pay special attention to when you feel sick and if the symptoms abate after you leave the building.
One smart way to figure out what’s responsible for your illness is to keep a symptom journal. Anytime you feel under the weather, write it down. Include where you are, how long you’ve been there and how you’re physically affected. Over time, you’ll be able to pick out the pattern and find the issue.
What to do if you think you have sick building syndrome
Some of the potential causes of sick building syndrome include mold, indoor smoke, VOCs in the air, cleaning chemicals, pesticides, animal and insect droppings, carbon monoxide, low humidity, dust and asbestos. If you suspect any of these may be the culprit, address them at their root cause: clean up dust and droppings, improve the ventilation, install a carbon monoxide detector, try an indoor humidifier or HEPA filter and other mitigation techniques.
You can also have the indoor air quality of your home or office tested. Working with a company like Ahold of Mold Environmental can help pinpoint any air quality issues inside your building. If the problem is mold infestation, we can perform mold remediation services as well.
There’s no reason to live with sick building syndrome in Northern PA. If you’re struggling with mystery ailments, call your doctor, document your symptoms and let Ahold of Mold Environmental test your indoor air quality. The sooner you call, the sooner you can start feeling better. Get in touch today to schedule an appointment.
Categorised in: Air Quality