Is Work Making You Sick? Part 5

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Sick Building Syndrome

You may not be the only one itching or wheezing at work. In instances where a number of employees in the same workplace have symptoms, the culprit may be the building itself.

According to UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, “sick building syndrome” describes the set of respiratory and allergic complaints that appear to be linked to conditions in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. The Environmental Health Center, a division of the National Safety Council, also reports that complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be spread throughout the building.

A large number of people — more than 80 percent in some buildings — experience irritation and annoyance, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Symptoms of sick building syndrome may include headaches, fatigue, eye irritation, nose and throat irritation, tightness in the chest, nausea, wheezing, difficulty in concentrating, and skin irritation. Symptoms usually go away soon after the employee leaves the building. Most problems related to sick-building syndrome are not life threatening, the Society for Human Resource Management says.

According to the Environmental Health Center, problems frequently result when a building is used or maintained in a way that’s not consistent with its original design or purpose. At times, indoor air problems result from poor building design or occupant activities.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says sick building syndrome may be caused by:

inadequate ventilation
chemical contaminants from indoor sources, such as adhesives, carpeting, upholstery, copy machines, pesticides and cleaning agents, all of which may emit volatile organic compounds
chemical contaminants from outdoor sources, such as motor vehicle exhaust
biological contaminants, such as bacteria, mold and pollen
Possible ways to resolve sick building syndrome include improving ventilation, cleaning air ducts and carpets, moving affected workers to other areas of the building where no problems exist, or changing employees’ job tasks.

Every person should learn main first aid methods. it is difficult to realize at what time you may need it – your loved one and you might be at school, at work, at home, on holiday.

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