Sick Building Syndrome: There’s Something in the Air

Imagine this: you’re at work. You’re coughing, tired, dizzy and have a nasty headache on top of that. The thing is, after you leave, you feel better. Why is that? It may not always be that you’re just happy to leave the workplace. In fact, those are classic symptoms for Sick Building Syndrome (or SBS). SBS is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience health effects that appear to be linked to time spent inside a building, but no specific cause or illness can be identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or may be widespread throughout the building.

According to numerous studies, SBS is an increasing problem in the US and around the world. The main culprit behind SBS is inadequate ventilation, which could also occur if heating, ventilation and HVAC systems do not effectively distribute air in the building. With this problem increasing, and with allergy season in full swing, we can’t forget that we have a weapon to fight with – Air Purifiers. Air purifiers will help to reduce the spread of viruses, bacteria and other airborne contaminants that could seriously affect air quality. We have spotlighted two air purifiers that will help you fight off SBS and seasonal allergies.

The Virus Zero Portable Air Purifier (SP-PA4) is a lightweight purifier that neutralizes airborne allergies such as pet dander, tobacco smoke and dust mites. This small and lightweight purifier can sit on a desktop or even fit in your car’s cup holder. The Virus Zero Purifier treats up to 231 square feet of space and only uses 4 watts of power.

The 3M Filtrete Air Cleaner Purifier helps to purify the air in your office, by reducing airborne particles such as mold spores and pet dander. The 3M Filtrete Air Cleaner will reduce odor and captures microscopic allergens such as smoke, dust, smog particles and pollen. The 3M Filtrete Air Purifier releases filtered air from the top of the unit to increase air circulation.

With levels of indoor air pollution rising, we cannot underestimate the value of an air purifier. Consider this: air purifiers can also help you obtain a better night’s sleep by removing many of the allergens that keep us awake all night with an itchy or sore throat. Who wouldn’t want a better night’s sleep?

Controlling Indoor Allergens

Itchy nose, watery eyes, frequent sneezing, scratchy throat—these are all too familiar allergy symptoms to the over 40 million allergy sufferers out there. And often it seems to those affected by indoor/ outdoor allergies that they are at the mercy of Mother Nature. But there are many things you can do to make your home less likely to trigger allergies, mostly by enacting a course of action that involves cleaning up and reducing the number of hiding places for indoor allergens.

According to an Infographic on the website allergybegone.com, many common indoor allergens can be reduced by taking simple steps to make your home less friendly to these allergens. Common indoor allergens include:

  • Dust
  • Dust Mites
  • Pet Dander
  • Pollen
  • Cockroaches
  • Mold
  • Endotoxins

Treatment for dust includes mopping and vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter in it. Also adding an air cleaner with a HEPA or electrostatic filter can keep dust to a minimum.

Dust mites are often found in mattresses and bedding. By cleaning bedding every 7 to 10 days in hot water , and not using mattress pads these allergy triggers can be somewhat controlled.

Bathing your pets often and using an air cleaner can help to keep pet dander at bay.

Pollen in the home can be reduced by keeping doors and windows closed and using an air conditioner. Also showering or bathing before bed can help keep pollen at a minimum in your home.

Cockroach debris is another allergen found in indoor air. By following common cockroach control practices— keeping all food sealed, not keeping pet food out for extended periods of time, keeping all cracks and holes sealed— this allergen can be lessened.

Mold loves to grow in bathrooms. By regularly cleaning bathroom surfaces with bleach and water, removing houseplants, not carpeting bathrooms, and using mold-proof paint, mold can be kept to a minimum.

The same control methods for dust and mold helps reduce endotoxins, bacteria that can live in dust.

Keeping your home clean and reducing hiding places for allergens by eliminating carpeting and bulky drapes and furniture where possible helps make your indoor air friendly to allergy sufferers.