Sick Buildings

The houses we live in and the offices and factories where we work may make us sick.

The main clue that a building might be the problem is that the person feels worse in the particular space and better when away: This is particularly true if it happens repeatedly.

Common building associated illnesses include asthma, nasal congestion, burning of the eyes and nose, skin rash and recurrent infections such as sinusitis or bronchitis.

Dust, molds, pet danders, mycotoxins, metallic dusts, fiberglass particles, solvents, pesticides, paints, air fresheners, perfumes, cleaning solutions, new carpeting and furniture and other chemical sources may provoke signs and symptoms of illness.

If the majority of the people in such buildings are sick at the same time we call it “Sick Building Syndrome”.  Even if the building contaminants are not affecting the majority, they may affect a few individuals if such persons are more sensitive or otherwise more susceptible. In addition to buildings, remember that cars, buses and trucks may also be sufficiently contaminated so as to cause problems for the susceptible individual.

Indoor air quality engineers and industrial hygienists are able to study our living and workspaces to see if contaminants can be identified and then corrected.

Part of the service we offer patients with building associated symptoms is evaluation of susceptibility and documentation of debility.  In addition to performing a history and physical, we might do skin testing, breathing tests, blood tests, booth tests and other evaluations.  Information from these evaluations can help develop a treatment program that combines accommodation in the work place with tolerance boosting in the patient.

For further information see: Chemical Sensitivity and Mold Exposure