Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a syndrome wherein the occupants of the building experience health discomforts that are somewhat related to the time spent inside the building. This syndrome has actually no known cause. SBS is usually associated with particular buildings that are usually occupied with various people which include schools, libraries, museums, and workplace.
Risk Factors of SBS
Although the exact cause of SBS has not yet been identified by the researchers, they have come up with risk factors that are common to people who have experienced this syndrome.
- Buildings with poor ventilation and low humidity
- Those buildings in high temperature since some microorganisms thrive in hot environment
- Buildings that are infested with molds and fungal spores
- Buildings that are unclean or filled with dusty particles
- Buildings that make use of electrostatic charges
- Those buildings with poor lightings
- Stress in the workplace
Technically, anyone can contract SBS. However, it is fairly common among those who work in closed spaces such as the offices since they do not usually open the windows. Office workers are considered to be more vulnerable than the others since air conditioning can harbor a lot of microorganisms that may affect the health.
Studies show that women are more at risk than men. This is primarily because more women work indoors or in offices than most men.
Clinical Manifestation of SBS
Clinical manifestations of SBS actually vary from one person to another. It may appear alone or in combination with other symptoms. In fact, these manifestations may vary daily. The most common manifestations include:
- Headache, dizziness, and fatigue
- Skin manifestations including skin rashes, dermatitis, and skin allergy
- Respiratory symptoms such as cough, colds, and shortness of breath
- Irritation to the eyes including red, sore, watery, and itchy eyes
- Throat irritation
- Chest tightness that may result to difficulty of breathing
The use of natural alternatives nowadays is becoming popular. A lot of people have already realized that using chemical substances have negative effects to one’s overall health. There are many ways that an individual can maintain being healthy without having to worry about the toxins that can get into their system. Below are tips that you can take note should you decide to go for the natural substitutes:
- Organic food – consuming any types of organic food is one great start towards the healthy life. These produce are usually grown in safe soil, do not have any modifications, and are always separate from the conventional products. No trace of synthetic pesticides, petroleum-based and other types of fertilizers as well as bioengineered genes can be found on them.
- The use of cast iron or stainless steel cookware – they are not only durable, they are safer to use and may also improve one’s health.
- Natural toothpaste – you will know if the toothpaste is made out from natural ingredients by looking at its green-colored mark at the tail part of the tube.
- Natural ingredients for the food – they are unprocessed, unenriched, and unbleached.
- Deodorants that are non-aluminum – it can kill the bacteria that causes bad odor because it uses plant or oil extracts.
- Cooking food and warming up leftovers – it is best to do it using the oven instead of a microwave.
- Water – you will want to use chlorine filters for drinking and bathing water.
- Plastic bottles – it is recommended to use a hard plastic bottle than the soft ones since they are considered to be toxic.
- Coolers – you can use water evaporative coolers, and stay away from HVAC that uses Freon.
- Home finishes – only use green products for this project.
- Naturally made soaps – this can be used for bathing, laundry and dishes.
- Hair sprays – use the pumping bottles rather than the ones in can.
- Cleaning products – buy the ones that do not have hydrocarbon propelled aerosols.
Be wary of the products that make your life convenient since they are most probably toxic. We are responsible for our own actions. If we want to be healthier and if we would like to live longer, then we should be educated about the natural alternatives that we can do. The use of chemical-based products has shown different negative impacts to our health, and changing our lifestyle is one great option. It may be hard at first, but you’ll appreciate it more if you do not get sick.
If you thought that we are safer if we stay inside our homes, think again. It may look perfectly clean and beautiful outside, but because of the different chemicals that we use to clean our house, it can be very deadly to all the people living in it. Our bodies are exposed to toxins that can be found in fabrics, filtering systems, computers, phones and so much more. We always assume that our home is the cleanest and safest place, it may contain harmful elements, but some of them are actually toxic. Here are details that make any home toxic:
- PBDEs or polybrominated diphenyl ethers – it is used as retardants for flame and builds up rapidly in everyone’s body. PBDEs are present in many appliances and some fabrics. They can be found in the kitchen and dining room, in blenders, coffeemakers, toasters, and microwaves.
- Phthalates – it is a chemical additive that can be used in making a vinyl flexible to giving lotions the right amount of consistency. They are usually found in the kitchen and dining room, in bottles, plastic containers, vinyl flooring and food wraps.
- Pesticides – DDT are banned, but others such as atrazine, are now restricted. The commonly used ones to kill roaches, fungi, etc. can be linked to some effects of one’s health and this includes asthma and neurological, immunological and developmental problems.
- PFAs or perfluoroalkoxy – usually found in the kitchen, dining room as wells as non-stick pans.
- PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls – it builds up in human tissues. They are already banned but are usually found in fishes and games in areas that are contaminated with it.
There are still many other types of harmful toxins out there that everybody should be aware of, and the details mentioned above are just a few of them. This can be very alarming, considering the different effects it has to our bodies. You always have the option to go for natural alternatives, which do not just harm us; they are also good for mother earth.