Indoor Air Quality

What is 'Sick Building Syndrome'?

The illness called Sick Building Syndrome is an unusual occurrence. The name refers to a particular building causing the illness in a person and is attributed to various symptoms. The symptoms could include common cold symptoms such as headaches, runny nose and a tight chest, but can also show itself in irritated eyes and dry skin – making it very difficult to diagnose.

The NHS describe the causes to be nonspecific and follow on to say that 'The symptoms of SBS can appear on their own or in combination with each other and they may vary from day to day. Different individuals in the same building may have different symptoms.'

Any of the following symptoms can be found on their own, all together and, bearing in mind the NHS' description, can vary from each day and from person to person:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • aches and pains
  • fatigue
  • poor concentration or short attention span
  • shortness of breath or chest tightness
  • eye irritation
  • throat irritation
  • irritated, blocked or running nose
  • skin irritation (skin rashes, dry itchy skin)

If you find that any of these symptoms are being reported regularly within the workplace, you must consider that Sick Building Syndrome may be accountable (Learn more about SBS checks you can conduct).


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