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Industry Updates

What is Sick Building Syndrome? Plus, how to avoid it.  

How to avoid Sick Building Syndrome in commercial environments

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Across the world, people are spending an increasing amount of time indoors. In fact, research from The British Journal of Dermatology in 2011, suggested people spend less than two hours per day outside. A number likely to have decreased due to a current external environment causing the planet to stay at home, and lockdown indoors.

Therefore, it is essential, now more than ever, to have a safe and well-ventilated indoor environment to safeguard mental and physical health.

Did you know that an unsuitable indoor environment could lead to health complications such as Sick Building Syndrome? Causing office workers to have low-performance levels, as well as decreased comfort and health.

What is Sick Building Syndrome?

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As England’s National Health Service (NHS) describes, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) arises when an individual spends time in a particular building and experiences a series of symptoms. The symptoms tend to escalate in correlation to the amount of time spent within that particular building. Some of these symptoms include headaches, blocked nose, itchy skin, coughing, wheezing, rashes, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, and dry, sore eyes or a throat.

Yet, the exact cause of Sick Building Syndrome remains unclear; however, possible contributing factors may include:

  • Poor indoor ventilation
  • Poorly maintained air-conditioning units.
  • Dust, smoke, fumes or fabric fibres in the air
  • Bright or flickering lights
  • Mould or mildew from damp indoor conditions
  • An unclean environment
  • An overly crowded environment

Interestingly, The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) equates 52 per cent of Sick Building Syndrome cases to inadequate ventilation alone. Therefore, a fresh and well-ventilated environment could almost half the chance of having Sick Building Syndrome.

How to prevent Sick Building Syndrome?

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Do you think your indoor environment is unhealthy? Have you experienced these symptoms either at home or in your office? If so, the following these everyday steps may help to ease the negative effects of Sick Building Syndrome:

  1. Open the windows for at least two hours a day.
  2. Daily cleaning and uncluttering.
  3. Open the blinds, and/or curtains.
  4. Whether you are at home, or in the office, ensure you are outside for at least one hour of the day.
  5. Replace the filters on your air conditioner at least once a month.

If you are an employee experiencing SBS, perhaps also speak to your Building Manager and express your concerns about your office’s environment.

How can MHIAE help? 

The SAF Fresh Air Indoor Unit helps achieve energy-saving ventilation in commercial environments such as office buildings, gyms, libraries, and hotels. Built with non-woven cloth filters to combat dust collection without the need for periodic cleaning.

The SAF unit also recovers heat energy from the atmosphere and uses this energy to moderate indoor air temperatures depending on the climate – ensuring comfortable interiors all year round.

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