How to Tell If Your Home is Causing You to Become Sick

How to Tell If Your Home is Causing You to Become Sick

During winter, it’s common to become sick. The cold and dry air coupled with inadequate ventilation in many enclosed spaces and proximity to one another create the perfect environment for viruses and bacteria to spread from person to person.

Because it’s cold, people tend to spend more time inside their homes. When one member of the household is sick, the chances are high that the rest will become ill, too. However, what if a virus or bacteria don’t cause the symptoms? What if it’s your building that has been making you feel ill?

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that people can experience when they are in a building. These symptoms can include headaches, eye, nose, and throat irritation, skin irritation, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

People can become sick from exposure to various factors in the building, including chemical pollutants, biological pollutants, inadequate ventilation, and poor lighting.

While anyone can experience SBS, it affects people who spend a lot of time in the building, such as office workers and students.

If your symptoms go away when you get out of the house, chances are your home is the culprit. Your doctor may also not find anything wrong with your health — no flu or COVID-19 — which suggests that an external factor is causing you symptoms.

Inadequate Ventilation

Ventilation is a common problem in homes, especially in areas with high population densities. The more people you cram into an enclosed space, the higher the chances are for pollutants to build up in the air.

Inadequate ventilation can be caused by poor design or improper construction. For example, if there is too much insulation around your house and it’s not properly vented out, you may end up feeling ill.

Poor design can also cause ventilation problems. For instance, instead of using operable windows that produce a draft when opened and closed, many homes use double-pane glass. This traps the fumes and causes carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in the air. If there are gas appliances inside the home, poor ventilation allows this toxic gas to escape into the air.

A broken furnace is also a potential root of the problem. If the filters are blocked, for example, the furnace will circulate the contaminated air. It’s best to call a furnace repair service to inspect the furnace. You can also consult a professional about improving your ventilation system.

Proximity to Sources of Pollution

People nearby a site where a pollutant is being released can develop symptoms from exposure to gases escaping from the area if their homes aren’t properly protected against them. Natural sources also produce pollutants that can affect people’s health at home: volcanoes, fires, and pollen, for example.

If you live near a construction site or a busy street, your exposure to chemical pollutants may be higher. You can also end up feeling sick if the building materials used in nearby buildings are not made of natural elements that don’t release harmful gases into the air.

Identifying the root cause of your illness can be difficult, especially if you are hypersensitive to changes in the environment. The first thing you should do, therefore, is consult a doctor about your symptoms. You can also hire an environmental hygienist who specializes in identifying the source of pollutants at home.

If it turns out that chemicals or biological contaminants are present inside your building, ask for assistance right away to prevent further exposure to them. Immediate measures include asking people not to smoke indoors and using non-chemical cleaning products that don’t release harmful fumes into the air when they are being used. If none of these work, consider moving out until all traces of pollutants have been eliminated from the building.

Poorly Constructed Building Materials

The materials used to construct the building can also cause SBS. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s best to consult an expert about the materials used.

Porous materials are one of the most common culprits in buildings that are causing people to become ill. Materials with microscopic holes allow gases and toxic particles to seep through them into the enclosed spaces where people are. Just like carbon monoxide, these pollutants can be lethal in large amounts.

Mold is also common in poorly constructed buildings. It’s not hard to fight this problem — just check if the building materials are mold-resistant, and you’re good to go. You can also use natural remedies or insecticides to keep the growth at bay.

 

There are many potential causes of health problems that people experience in their homes, and one of the most common is poor construction. If you’re feeling sick and can’t seem to identify the root cause, it’s important to consult with a professional about your symptoms. In some cases, it may be necessary to take immediate measures to prevent further exposure to harmful pollutants inside the building.

 

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