Your Home, Your Health: Treating Sick Building Syndrome

Have you found yourself sneezing and coughing, feeling fatigued, or suffering from headaches more often lately? This time of year, it’s easy to chalk those symptoms up to a nasty winter cold. But they could also indicate that it’s not just you—it’s your house that could be making you sick.

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is the name for a cluster of symptoms that share many commonalities with the common cold. Caused by contaminated conditions in your home, the most common culprit of SBS is poor indoor air quality but it can also be caused by mold, mildew, and asbestos.

So how do you know whether it’s your home or just a cold?

Symptoms of SBS will linger long after a cold would have run its course and aren’t soothed by sick days. (If anything, a sick day amounts to more time in your home, thus more exposure to the contamination causing your symptoms.) Symptoms will abate if you spend time away from your home—such as going on a winter vacation—whereas cold symptoms will travel with you.

The only way to cure your SBS symptoms is by curing your sick building.

Heating and cooling HVAC systems both circulate air throughout your home. Dust, pet dander, and other home allergens can contribute to dirty ductwork. And if your ductwork is dirty, the air you breathe will also be contaminated. The only way to eradicate SBS is to trace it back to source of the contamination.

Make sure you’re changing your air filters regularly and scheduling routine maintenance tune-ups. Installing a humidifier can also help your symptoms dissipate more quickly. Air with low humidity can dry out your sinuses and make it more difficult for your body to recover from illness. Be careful not to overuse it, however. Too much moisture is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can exacerbate SBS.

If you’re not sure what the source of your sick building is, call Bonfe to schedule a home inspection. We’ll determine the source of the contamination and have you breathing clean, healthy air in no time.

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