SICK BUILDING SYNDROME: SYMPTOMS AND HOW TO AVOID THIS SYNDROME

SICK BUILDING SYNDROME
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This a condition in which building occupants may experience health discomforts which may be linked to their stay in the building, however, they may not show specific illness.

Some of the symptoms involved are vomiting, headache hoarseness of the voice, eye, nose and throat irritation and many more. The complainants of these symptoms may be in one room or in different areas in the building.

According to a report, close to thirty percent of new and remodeled buildings may be subject to sick building syndrome. These problems arise when a building is not operated in line with its operating system or design.

Below are some of the factors that contribute to the manifestation of the sick building syndrome and how to deal with these factors.

Chemical contamination from indoor sources may be one of the causes of this syndrome. 

These may include manufactured wood products, pesticides and cleaning compound which may emit harmful gases such formaldehyde which may, in turn, cause respiratory problems to the occupants of a building.

According to a study done in Hong Kong Polytechnic in a library building, it was found out that the indoor air quality and level of microbes present in the building had a direct impact on the working staff. The staffs were interviewed and the sample results analyzed hence staff showed different symptoms.

If a building is well ventilated there is minimal chance of experiencing discomforts since there would be minimal bacteria in the air.

The temperature of a room in a building is also very critical

If the temperatures are too high then the staff may experience discomforts and may lose concentration in their work. Some symptoms experienced by high temperatures are sweating, heat rash and irritations on the skin. Low temperatures may also interfere with workers focus. These symptoms tend to go away when the person is out of the building.

In order to avoid this, the temperature should be regulated to optimum, healthy for human habitation. The building should be designed properly and windows should be fitted in strategic areas. The air conditioner may also be very useful since it maintains a cool temperature which is good for the body which translates to good health hence comfortability.

The location of a building is also a factor. 

If the building is situated in an industrial place e.g. mining area, manufacturing area etc. The staff may experience sick building syndrome. This can easily be explained by the fumes and waste products emitted by these industries e.g. an industry manufacturing chemical and wet cells for vehicles emit poisonous gases which may cause respiratory problems to the staff members

To avoid this all this, a building inhabited by people should be situated in a safe environment

Cleanliness of the building is also very essential. 

If the building is not properly cleaned there may be an outbreak of a certain illness such as coughs, irritations of the throat which are majorly caused by dust particles in the air, hence the rooms should be regularly cleaned and cobwebs removed, air fresheners may be sprayed too.

Waste materials should be properly disposed of to avoid diseases. The environment surrounding the building should be kept clean and grass well cut. Doing this ensures a safe environment hence avoiding cases of sick building syndrome.

Poor software quality might also contribute to sick building sickness

Several studies have proved that there is a relationship between the number of hours spent working at the VDU and the symptoms of sick building syndrome. One may appear to have a rare but faint facial rash due to VDU which may be because of charged air particles on the skin

In order to avoid this machines should be maintained and replacements should be made for worn out machines, also one should not spend so much time handling certain machines which may cause certain health problems.

Paper is a major contributor to sick building syndrome. 

Paper has been found to cause respiratory and dermal irritations this may be due to the release of encapsulated inks on the sheets a major problem in the shredding of papers.

Paper use should be controlled in offices since the more the paper the higher the chances of getting(SBS). The quality of paper used should also be considered. No carbon paper should be avoided.

Water damage can also cause sick building syndrome. 

This is an environmental issue hence and should be controlled. Broken pipes may allow bacteria hence contaminating the water source. The material used to construct the pipes should be healthy and strong to be to withstand stress.

Lighting in a building is important to avoid sick building syndrome. 

The lighting system should be maintained; it should not be so bright nor too dim. If the lighting is not favorable the staff may experience irritations especially on the eyes which may lead to low production.

Buildings should be well maintained

There should be regular repairs e.g. lighting sewer system etc. Staff working in poorly maintained building tend to suffer from sick building syndrome since they may be exposed to a poor lighting system, broken sewers cracked walls which may cause irritations. The staff may not concentrate which may lead to absenteeism hence poor production.

Cigarette smoke poses a major challenge in building and is a contributor to sick building syndrome. 

Non-smokers tend to suffer more compared to regular smokers this is because smokers are used to the smoke produced. Studies in various places have shown a decrease in symptoms once smoking was prohibited.

Some of the social issues can cause this syndrome

Their many social issues which may contribute to the syndrome an example is an excessive work and dissatisfaction.an employee may be burdened with too much work this leads to stress. Stress may cause sick building syndrome he or she may experience headaches.

To avoid this there should a fair may of distribution of workload among the employees. Also, the employer should focus on the welfare of his employees in terms of salary, allowances, wages and many other social benefits.

Poor communication between employees may lead to stress in a working environment thus facilitating this syndrome 

An example is if there is discord between two or more employees they may not talk which may create a sour working environment hence sick building syndrome due to stress caused by rage.

To avoid this there should be an amicable way of solving disputes in workplaces. The employees should be able to agree and forgive each other, this will lead to low-stress levels hence avoiding the syndrome. This further leads to better results in workplaces.

The employer-employee relationship is also crucial in maintaining a healthy working environment. 

Some employers are so hard on their employees, they tend to scold them and talk to them harshly, they may overburden them with work too. This may translate to stress in an employee. He or she may not concentrate and may experience symptoms of sick building syndrome.

To avoid all these there should be a good working relationship between the two parties, the employer should understand the employees’ problems and treat his or her employees with respect. This will encourage the employee to work harder hence avoiding the syndrome and boosting production.

Natural biological contaminants such pollen, viruses, and bacteria may cause sick building syndrome. 

These contaminants may breed in still waters accumulated outside the building or in badly maintained roofs. This makes the employees suffer from this syndrome.

Surrounding of the building should be well maintained and roofs renovated regularly.

Refrigerants leaks and combustion by-products, especially in homes, may also lead to sick building syndrome. 

Gas leaks if not tightly closed may also contribute to the syndrome. They may cause dizziness and rashes on the skin. This may be avoided by good ventilation and being more careful when handling certain equipment.

Sick building syndrome is a common problem in many building across the globe and many more can be avoided by maintaining cleanliness, regular repairs, proper building design etc. Other social remedies are maintaining good relations between employees and employer. This will, in turn, lead to high production.
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