The term sick building syndrome has been ignored for long and used to be called all sorts of alternative names: some preferred to say “environmental illness” others preferred “building-related illness”.
Finally, the medical community accepted the term: Sick building syndrome – and they did so for some pretty valid reasons. Else known as “multiple chemical sensitivity”, this condition occurs when humans are exposed to unknown agents, whether chemical, biological physical which can all be found inside a building.
What Exactly Are The Signs And Symptoms?
Given the similarities between various illnesses, it is not that straight forward – and most people certainly do not want to “play Doctor”. However, the lack of fresh air combined with low levels of lighting and an absence of fresh air (especially when air conditioning is used), all coupled with stress free rehab centers, act together to suppress the immune system. The initial symptoms are perhaps a bit scary because of other medical issues that seem similar: chest pains, eye irritations, sore throat, even fatigue, memory loss, nose bleeds, dermatitis – and a few more!
Due to the cumulative time the average worker spends at the office, it is clear that the impact can be significant and everything has to be done to improve this to avoid chronic health problems.
Ventilation And Air Conditioning Presents A Real Challenge:
Whereas the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers proposes a minimum requirement of 20 cubic feet of fresh air per minute per person, it is now estimated that in many cases the actual figure is closer to 5 or 6 cubic feet. Well: this is why the symptoms match that of hypoxia – does it sound familiar?
Harmful Substances Such As Benzothiozole And Toluene Does Not Help Either:
Office equipment is certainly fewer these days since we no longer use fax machines and other conventional outdated equipment (Unless you are in Greece or Argentina off course), but remember that these all give of dangerous organic compounds which eventually form ultrafine particles – almost as damaging as PM2.5 air pollution.
This then act as triggers for asthma and increases the symptoms of heart disease in people who are already unhealthy.
Guess what? Cleaning chemicals does not make the situation better – not to mention paint, carpets and resins, if that is also in the environment.
In the UK, there is a failure to understand this, where buildings are sealed off for fire regulations – surely this sounds like a credible excuse though?
One of the reasons this problem is ongoing – is that it is not always that easy to proof that it is the building: Since you may have similar problems with your home, or another underlying health condition, which means that your colleagues do not suffer the same symptoms immediately.
Clearly this leads to many individuals who suffer in silence: As the saying goes: “Slow justice, is no justice”.
It’s Manageable For A Month Or Two, But Long Term Exposure Is Harmful
When we ignore initial signs and symptoms, autoimmune conditions can eventually develop. Whereas governments are concerned mainly with reduced working hours, productivity and tax revenue – our families are concerned with wellbeing and, at worse, early death.
Can We Think Of Healthier Alternatives?
Indeed there are those who work from home these days, or in very pleasant environments. There are also those who compensate for lack of vitamin D and oxygen with exercise and nutrition – yet it all depends on how many hours you are in an office. The modification of your environment is indeed the best long term solution.
Employers Who Care, Can Make A Difference:
The last thing any corporation should do is to save on their air conditioning bill for the sake of lowering the recommended levels of fresh air. The same goes for saving on cleaning materials that are more toxic. In fact – governments as employers are also to blame, again think of Greece: where corners are being cut right now and the environment is making more people ill than before. Indeed there are many incremental changes that the health and safety team can take to improve the situation.
At an individual level, one should consider various dietary supplements to boost your immune system. It is essential that your supplements contain the ingredients such as vitamin D, C, quercetin, zinc, magnesium and the herbs albizzia and perilla.
Of course, you can go a step further to remove these toxins with a proper detox and exercise. Eating health vegetables and drinking sufficient water is also essential to maintain your body after detoxification.
It is not easy to find a perfect environment in our capitalistic societies – well neither in other societies were they lack the funds to invest on safe, healthy working environments. Depending on how much you are affected, you may need to make a quality decision at some point in the future. Awareness of your body through things like biofeedback can play a critical role – and remember: prevention is always better than cure.