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Friday, April 11, 2014

Sick building syndrome

(Shutterstock image)

I think we have "sick building syndrome" in my office. What is that?  The U.S. National Library of Medicine has an article that lists symptoms from bad indoor air quality. They include:

  • Headache

  • dizziness

  • nausea

  • eye, nose or throat irritation

  • dry cough

  • dry or itching skin

  • difficulty in concentration

  • fatigue

  • sensitivity to odours

  • hoarseness of voice

  • allergies

  • cold

  • flu-like symptoms

  • increased incidence of asthma attacks

  • and personality changes

The people that take care of our building recently changed the filters on the air conditioning unit. That's usually a good thing, but for some reason, it made the air in our building smells like a dirty bathroom. It's awful!!! And it seems really humid, in fact I noticed that the posters on my walls are warping! Woah!!!

It's really been affecting my asthma. In fact, I had to leave work yesterday because my chest was tight and I was having a hard time breathing. I used my inhaler twice during the day, and finally thought, "forget it!!!! I'm leaving the building!!!!" It took several hours for me to start to feel better.

At first, I thought I was going crazy, because many of the employees across the hall couldn't smell anything. And their posters and display board papers weren't warping. But when I would walk back across the hall, the smell in my office was awful.

It's been almost a week with the horrible smell. It seems worse in my area of the building - lucky me!!. And what makes it really bad is that I can't open my window. With newer building, they are built to be "energy efficient." Which basically means that someone else controls the thermostat and decides when to turn the heat and air conditioning on. And the windows are just big panes of glass that don't open. What I wouldn't give to be able to open my window and let some fresh air in!!

Yesterday after I was walking out of the building (holding my inhaler and spacer) I talked to the people in charge of our building and let them know that I had to leave because the building was making me sick. I guess my lungs can only take so much.

If you are having problems, talk to the people in charge of your building. I guess there were enough of the workers in our building that were complaining, that they were able to fix the problem.

I love my job, but I can't do it if I can't breathe. Good thing it's Friday and I can have a break from this building!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrea, I'm working on an article for Reuters and I'd love to interview you about allergy costs. Could you contact me? I'm or 646-223-7289. Thanks!