How to Prevent Sick Building Syndrome

Feb 18 2019

Is your home making you sick? It could be. If you’re suffering from constant cold or flu-like symptoms seemingly only at work or at home, you could be at risk of sick building syndrome. Sick building syndrome is when mold, bacteria, or other conditions are making occupants of that building sick with symptoms that only stop when you leave the building. Learn more about the signs of sick building syndrome is and what you can do to prevent it.

What Are the Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome?

Not to be confused with the common cold, sick building syndrome can create a number of symptoms, including:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in chest
  • Sneezing
  • Fever or chills
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • An inability to focus
  • Nausea

What makes sick building syndrome different from the common cold is that these symptoms keep coming back. If you find these problems disappear when you leave your home for a few days or even hours but come back full force when you return, that’s a sign something in your home is making you sick. Here are six ways you can prevent it and keep you and your family healthy.

1. Keep Dust Away

If your home is prone to dust and clutter, keep it clean! A quick dusting goes a long way in preventing cold symptoms, as dust often leads to mold, which can lead to sick building syndrome. Regularly dusting can also help anyone in your home who suffers from allergies or asthma.

Quick tip: Make sure the vacuum you use has a HEPA filter to help keep allergies at bay.

2. Change Your Air Filter

If you have a filter connected to your furnace, make sure to change the filter every few months to keep your indoor air quality high and keep your furnace working longer. You may need to change this filter more often if you have pets or your house is more prone to dust. If you can’t remember the last time you changed it, it’s probably time! Your lungs will thank you for it.

A man changing the air filter from a vent in the ceiling.

3. Open Your Window (When Possible)

Opening your window can keep the air moving in your home and push stale air out and let fresh air in. While we don’t recommend opening your window in the middle of winter or the middle of hay fever season, letting in fresh air when possible can help keep the air moving. If you can’t open your windows, invest in some fans to keep fresh air moving in and unwanted microbes out.

4. Look for Mold

Mold is one of the more common causes to sick building syndrome. In fact, when left untreated certain strains of mold can turn into more extreme issues such as legionnaires’ disease. Some of the more common signs of mold are:

  • A musty, earthy smell
  • Discoloration in your walls and ceilings
  • Water stains
  • High humidity in your home

Mold can show up anywhere, not just your kitchen and bathroom. If you suspect you have a mold problem but can’t find where it’s hiding, call a restoration company to provide a professional mold inspection. Not only can they find hidden mold, they can also take the next steps to remove it and make sure it doesn’t come back.

Read more: Where Is Mold Hiding in Your Home?

5. Weatherproof Your Property

Minnesota is prone to harsh winters that can create a variety of water damage issues. An ice dam can cause water to leak through your roof, or your pipes can freeze, leading to a burst pipe. Any kind of water damage can create a mold infestation, which in turn leads to sick building syndrome.

Prepare for colder weather before it becomes a problem. A few things you can do are check your doors and window frames for mold, clean your gutter to prevent ice dams, and make sure your chimney is clean.

Read more: Your Home’s Winter Checklist

6. Choose Different Cleaners and Detergents

Cleaners and detergents could actually be the cause of your sick building syndrome. If you’re constantly using harsh chemicals that emit strong fumes, rethink your cleaners. Natural or organic cleaners can be just as effective and sometimes cheaper! Have a clogged sink? Consider these other ways to get your drain flowing again without using chemicals.

Is Your Home Making You Sick?

If you suspect that you may be suffering from sick building syndrome, it could be a sign that you have a mold problem. You can read more about the effects of mold in our complete guide to mold.

If you are seeing all these symptoms, don’t wait. Give us a call and we’ll send one of our team members to come inspect your property and find and remove any trace of mold.

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