Sick Building Syndrome – What is it?

Portrait of young man drunk or sick vomiting outdoors due to Sick building Syndrome
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Have you ever experienced discomfort in a particular building or a zone of that building? Did you experience cough, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, or other allergic reactions, but there wasn’t any identified cause? It’s what they call Sick Building Syndrome.  

Is Sick Building Syndrome Real? 

Sick Building Syndrome refers to a type of condition in which occupants of a building or an enclosed space experience health issues due to poor indoor air quality. However, the exact cause remains unidentified.

A 1984 report by World Health Organization Committee suggests that approximately 30 percent of newly-built and remodeled buildings have poor indoor air quality.

The medical condition is often temporary; however, there are some buildings that may cause long-term impacts on human health. Problems often occur when the building is not maintained as per the said procedures or the design itself is poor, which leads to poor indoor air quality in buildings.

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms may vary and appear to be the same as common flu and cold.

The only way to determine whether you are experiencing Sick Building Syndrome is by leaving the building and visiting back to see if the condition reoccurs. If you begin experiencing the same condition, you may want to take measures to improve indoor air quality.  

Causes of Sick Building Syndrome 

There are many causes of Sick Building Syndrome; however, the following discussed are some of the primary factors that contribute to the condition: 

Poor Ventilation

The lack of an adequate ventilation system is one of the top factors that contribute to Sick Building Syndrome. If your building doesn’t have a proper natural or mechanical ventilation system, the air quality will decline and become stale and stuffy.

Ventilation replaces the stale air with fresh air, causing the dilution of particle concentration. However, in the absence of outdoor air and constant airflow, the pollutants and other contaminants will keep building up, and exposure to them will cause serious health risks.

According to ASHRAE’s recommendation, 0.35 air changes every hour with 15cfm or more per occupant are required to improve indoor air quality and prevent negative impacts on human health. 

Chemical contaminants  

Many indoor sources release chemical contaminants like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that pollute the air, degrade the air quality, and cause severe health conditions.

VOCs usually emit from products we use in our daily lives, such as varnish, paints, markers, air fresheners, and cleaning agents.

On the other hand, chemical contaminants are also released by different outdoor sources, such as pollutants from vehicles’ exhausts may enter from poor vents in kitchens and bathrooms and causing the degradation of indoor air.  

Biological Contaminants 

There are different types of biological contaminants, such as viruses, bacteria, allergens, and pollen, which are commonly present inside buildings. Damp conditions facilitate the breeding of mold and bacteria.

These contaminants may also breed in stagnant water that has been collected in ducts or humidifiers. Some people are highly susceptible to these conditions and can experience acute health reactions, such as cough, dizziness, allergies, and chest tightness.  

Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome 

While complaints may be a result of common flu or cold, an unidentified health reaction is related to SBS. Some of the possible health conditions include:  

  • Dizziness
  • Cough
  • Skin irritation 
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  •  Runny nose 

The occurrence of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean sick building syndrome; however, if you are experiencing these symptoms without an identifiable cause, consult with a doctor right away. 

How to Treat Sick Building Syndrome  

If you are experiencing symptoms, you should leave the building as soon as possible to prevent long-term exposure and its consequences.

Secondly, we have already learned that poor indoor air quality is one of the primary factors that contribute to developing SBS.

It means that a building must have proper ventilation plans to purify the air and facilitate a good flow of air in each room or zone. If your building does not have proper windows or space for natural ventilation, you should opt for mechanical ventilation equipment from Euromate Pure Air.  

We have been operating in the air purification industry for more than 35 years. Not only does our technology ventilate stale air by maintaining constant airflow through multiple air exchanges per hour, but it also extracts pollutants, chemicals, and biological contaminants.

We have a range of smart and innovative air purifiers that are well-suited for both residential and commercial settings. Most of our air cleaners like VisionAir Blue Line and Pure Air Shield 3300 feature HEPA filters that clean the air and extract even the smallest particles with 99.95 percent efficiency. 

If you want to explore more about our air purifiers, let us know by sending an email or contacting us.

Happy Breathing! 

Clean your indoor air today!