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