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Health & Safety

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)

Air VentSick building syndrome is also known as the SBS. Individuals with this condition notice certain symptoms or issues flaring up when they're around a particular place. It gets its name from the fact that people only notice the symptoms when they're inside the building and not anywhere else. It typically occurs when the individual is at work, though it also occurs to some inside their own home.

Experts believe that sick building syndrome is most often related to the air quality inside the building. The World Health Organization even estimated that around 30% of all newer constructed buildings have poor air quality, which leads to symptoms of the syndrome. The problem usually arises because of a problem in the HVAC system. There are also problems that arise as the result of mold inside the building, improper ventilation, or improper filtration.

The first symptom identified with sick building syndrome is a headache. The person may also find it hard to concentrate on their tasks and/or experience phases of nausea or feeling dizzy. They also typically have an irritation in their throat, which leads to coughing. Others have an irritated feeling in their nose or eyes, which causes their eyes to itch or their nose to run.

Sick building syndrome sufferers also exhibit symptoms of fatigue, in that they feel tired for a large portion of time—and usually when inside the building. They may have severe mood swings or exhibit changes in their behaviors and personalities. Those with asthma will experience an increase in attacks while inside the building and some may have extreme cases of pneumonia or bronchitis. In addition, some sufferers appear to have symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The problem in identifying sick building syndrome is that the symptoms may vary drastically from person to person. The same groups of people typically exhibit a variety of symptoms that don't appear connected. It may be difficult for doctors to identify the problem as something a group shares. Each individual seeks medical attention on their own, making it nearly impossible for physicians to find the real cause.

Sick building syndrome can be prevented by employers and building designers or owners. The first step is to replace any water damaged areas of the building, especially walls and carpeting. Mold growing and developing on these area typically make the symptoms worse. These individuals are also encouraged to impose limits of smoking to reduce pollutants in the area. Individuals also need to keep their HVAC systems up to date, use hazardous materials in ventilated areas, and change their filtration systems frequently.

Find out more information on sick building syndrome at:

Sick Building Syndrome at Wikipedia

Does Your Office Have a Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Buildings

Building Related Symptoms

CND: Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome: Healing Health Facilities

What is Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome at EIR

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