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Is the building you work in making you sick?

If you begin coughing, sneezing or rubbing your eyes every time you go into your place of work, the possibility exists that you suffer from sick building syndrome. It’s true. Health Line explains that, indeed, some buildings, both new and old, can become “ill” when their air quality becomes compromised.

The problem with sick building syndrome stems from the fact that your symptoms mimic so many other illnesses and conditions, including asthma and the common cold. For instance, typical SBS symptoms include the following:

  • Coughing and other breathing difficulties
  • Sneezing and burning in your nose and/or eyes
  • Headaches
  • Itchy skin and/or eyes
  • Body aches
  • Nausea

If you really do have sick building syndrome, you likely will not exhibit any of its symptoms anywhere else except while at your work site. On the other hand, if you have worked in SBS conditions for an extended period of time, your symptoms may last for hours after you leave the building.

Sick building causes

Buildings become sick for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Poor or dirty ventilation systems
  • High dust or smoke environments
  • Mold or fungus
  • Formaldehyde off-gassing from wood floors and furniture
  • Use of toxic cleaning supplies
  • Insect or animal droppings dragged in on employees’ shoes

Sick building remediation

If your SBS symptoms persist, you should bring them to the attention of your supervisor or someone high up the chain of command. You may also consider asking him or her to get the air filters changed and the ducts cleaned. Another good suggestion is to make sure that the cleaning crew uses “green” products with no fragrances and little fume output.

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