Though not often talked about, as many people are starting to return back to work in the office, the topic of 'Sick-Building Syndrome' is important to discuss. As many of these buildings have been sitting idle for upwards of 16 months, some may have fallen into disrepair during the pandemic.
Do you feel sick while you’re at work, but the symptoms disappear as soon as you step outside or go home? You may be affected by sick-building syndrome.
Sick-building syndrome is a serious condition that can hurt your health and cause permanent issues. If you suspect that your office or building may have it, then it’s crucial that you let management know and get help.
Learn more about this important topic:
1. What is sick-building syndrome? It’s a general situation that can cover several issues such as poor air quality or mold. This syndrome can be defined as a building that has indoor air issues that are affecting workers.
· A sick building is generally one that has serious air quality issues.
· The concerns can include mold, moisture, pollutants, toxins, dust, and other dangerous substances.
· The poor air quality affects staff in different ways depending on their immune systems and general health. However, symptoms tend to be widespread and common among multiple workers.
2. What are the symptoms of sick-building syndrome? You and your coworkers may suffer from a variety of symptoms:
· The most common symptoms resemble allergies. You may have a runny nose, watery eyes, and a cough. You may also have asthma or more serious respiratory issues while you work.
· Other symptoms can include rashes, irritation, and fatigue.
· In general, more than one person in an office tends to have the same symptoms. They’re often mistaken for allergies or colds.
3. How do you fix sick-building syndrome? The key to fixing sick-building syndrome is to find the source of the issue and get professionals to address it.
· The cause of sick-building syndrome can be mold growing in the building or moisture seeping in through a leak.
· Old pipes, improper ventilation, construction issues, and other concerns should also be addressed. It’s possible for older buildings to still have lead paint and other hazards that can affect workers.
· Even a brand new building may have issues because of off-gassing from paint and carpeting. New construction materials can release dangerous fumes into the air that can affect your health.
· Another concern with new buildings is that windows tend to be sealed, so air quality is affected.
4. Ideas to consider. If you believe that you may be affected by sick-building syndrome, take action. Continuing to work in poor conditions can have lasting damage.
· First, check with your doctor and ensure you’re not suffering from another condition that could explain your symptoms. Bring up your ideas and ask questions during the appointment.
· Second, if you have eliminated other causes, talk to your boss. It’s important for management to know about your concerns.
· Bring evidence to your meeting with management, such as doctor’s reports or notes. Show pictures or other evidence of water damage and other things you’ve seen around the office.
· If management refuses to address the issues, you may need to involve government agencies such as the health department.
· Unsafe working conditions, like poor air quality, mold, mildew, or toxins can make you and your coworkers seriously ill. Your boss or managers need to address the safety concerns and take care of them before the issues become worse.
Sick-building syndrome can affect you and your coworkers in multiple ways. Make your boss aware of the issues and try to resolve them.