The sick building syndrome (SBS) is a modern ailment related to our air tight energy efficient homes. It is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building. The feeling of ill health increases sickness absenteeism and causes a decrease in productivity of the workers.
It is caused by inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants from indoor or outdoor sources and biological contaminants. Many volatile organic compounds, which are considered chemical contaminants, can cause acute side effects on the occupants of a building.
CAUSES OF SBS:
Poor ventilation- It is caused when the unpleasant smells and excessive moisture, is not introduced to outside air, which keeps interior building air circulated and prevents stagnation of the indoor air.
Poor IAQ - It is caused by poor ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems, dampness and moisture damage due to leaks, flooding or high humidity.Various occupant activities, such as construction or remodeling or Indoor and outdoor contaminated air
Using volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde, cleaning products, and manufactured plastic and wood products
External contaminants - outside air entering a building
Recycling of the building's own exhaust back in through poorly positioned vents/windows.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SBS:
- Headache and Nausea
- Nasal Congestion (runny/stuffy nose, sinus congestion, sneezing)
- Chest Congestion (wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness)
- Eye problems (dry, itching, tearing or sore eyes, blurry vision, burning eyes, problems with contact lenses)
- Throat problems ( sore throat, hoarseness, dry throat)
- Fatigue (unusual tiredness, sleepiness, or drowsiness)
- Chills and fever
- Muscle pain (aching muscles or joints,pain or stiffness in upper back, pain or stiffness in lower back,pain or numbness in shoulder/ neck, pain or numbness in hands or wrists)
- Dry Skin
HOW TO AVOID SBS:
The best way to avoid SBS completely is to design and construct a building with good indoor air quality. Use low emitting building materials, proper location of vents and much more.
For already constructed building we recommend opening the windows/doors for an hour or so to circulate/ventilate the indoors with the outside air. It is however recommended to ventilate the house in the afternoons when the outside air is relatively cleaner than the mornings and evenings. Also often, an experienced indoor air quality professional will be able to recommend solutions after finding the source of the contaminants. Treatments may include air purifiers, improved ventilation, or removing the source of the contaminant.
BreatheEasy is India's first full service indoor air quality solutions provider to B2B and B2C clients. We offer various products to prevent SBS which includes Air Purifiers, natural solution like plants, consumer grade air sensors and much more.
We have already sold our products and solutions to more than 3000 retail and commercial clients.