What is “Sick Building Syndrome?”

From time to time, people might find that they are sick of their job. But it turns out that sometimes, your job could actually be making you sick. Perfect example: I had a friend in high school who worked in an office on the weekends to save up to buy a car, and she used to complain to me that every day she had to work, she found herself getting headaches and watery eyes while she was there. She joked that maybe she was allergic to work, but it turns out that she might’ve been partially right; it very well could’ve been “sick building syndrome” that she was experiencing, which can cause symptoms like those you get when you have allergies.

No Laughing Matter

Being “allergic to work” is no joke when sick building syndrome is the cause. The symptoms come from contaminants inside the building, including mold, pollen, or bacteria. Workers might find themselves with various health problems, including irritation of the ears, nose, or throat, headaches, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing, or dry skin. So, how does someone with these symptoms know that they’re in a sick building and not, say, coming down with a cold or suffering from allergies? Easy: They feel a lot better once they’re outside of the building.

A Breath of Fresh Air

If you suspect that you work in a sick building, there are a few approaches you can take to try to fix the problem. One of the most important things to do is to have the office ventilation system looked at. Often, cleaning out the heating and air conditioning filters, ducts, and vents can get rid of a lot of contaminants that could be at the root of workers’ health problems. Ventilation itself is important, too: make sure that the HVAC system is drawing an adequate amount of clean air in from outside the building and filtering it inside.

In addition, it’s a good idea to have the building checked for mold. Black mold, especially, can be highly toxic, and lurks in places you can’t see, like the insulation inside the walls or behind the ceiling tiles. If mold is a problem, don’t mess around: contract for professional mold cleaning services. New York City offices, as well as offices in other major cities, could also benefit from having an air purification system installed once all of these fixes are in place.

Back to Basics

Another thing you can do to remedy a sick building is to make sure to keep it clean. Things like pollen and dust can build up in the workplace just as easily as they do in your home, so it’s a good idea to make sure the office gets a good cleaning on a regular basis. Without frequent visits from building cleaning services, New York City offices can get filthy fast! Make sure your cleaners pay special attention to some of the most likely places to harbor germs. After all, a clean workplace is a healthy workplace, and healthy workers are not only happier but much more productive. That makes keeping the place clean a good investment for both workers and their bosses.