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What Is Sick Building Syndrome?

What Is Sick Building Syndrome?

If your building makes you feel sick, you may have an indoor air quality issue.

The air we breathe is vital to our overall health. When contaminants pollute the air, or the air cannot flow throughout an enclosed area, people may begin to suffer. While allergies and other sicknesses may occur as a result, another type of illness called sick building syndrome is also prevalent. What is sick building syndrome, and what can building owners do about it?


SBS is a mysterious condition because its cause is generally unclear. A person with SBS may experience sickness at a specific location but be completely fine once they leave the premises. Common symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, and irritability. If you find yourself experiencing signs of asthma, vertigo, a cough, or a cold, see a doctor to make sure whether or not you actually have those ailments. However, it is likely SBS or a building-related illness if your symptoms leave after you leave the building.

Potential Causes

Although sick building syndrome may seem imaginary, it may be that the building is unsanitary after all. Once the cause is found, SBS becomes a building-related illness. However, it is necessary to investigate in order to know for sure. Incidents of sick building syndrome arose significantly in the 1970s when buildings became more insulated and less ventilated than they used to be. In some cases, the culprit was mold or bacteria in the air ducts. Poor lighting and increased computer usage also may have been factors of decreased health.

A lack of airflow can lead to various health problems as well as contaminants in the air. Besides mold, bacteria, and viruses, dust and debris can also build up over time, especially if managers are not changing the air filters or inspecting the air ducts often enough. Other pollutants include chemical vapors from paints, cleaners, carpeting, and upholstery, and smoke from cigarettes and other nicotine devices.  

Treatment for the Building

While a building cannot be 100% free of pollutants at all times, indoor air quality testing is the first step in making sure there is no serious problem with the building. A professional company like North Arundel Contracting can assess, clean, and restore your building’s HVAC unit and other appliances to their best condition. They are also a general contracting company that can renovate your commercial space as needed. Increased ventilation and inviting office rooms may be the long-term solution to avoid sick building syndrome in the future.


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This entry was posted on Friday, February 14th, 2020 at 1:01 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.