“Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a medical condition where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason. … These symptoms appear to be linked to time spent in a building, though no specific illness or cause can be identified.” Wikipedia.
Feeling unwell in your home or workplace can cause a lot of different and sometimes mysterious and unpleasant symptoms. For example, if you sneeze all of the time or have been diagnosed with something like fibromyalgia…it may not be “all in your head.” Here are some things linked to Sick Home/Building Syndrome:
• throat irritation.
• breathing difficulties.
• tightness in the chest.
• runny nose.
• allergy-like symptoms, such as sneezing.
• burning sensations in the nose.
• dry, itchy skin rashes.
• nose bleeds
• tremoring hands
Many of us are trying to be proactive with energy…install solar panels, add new and tighter windows, change out light bulbs and insulate, insulate, insulate…but what you are doing might make your home more toxic to you. Indoor pollution is a reality! When we try to insulate our homes, we might be trapping chemicals that could cause serious health problems, especially carcinogens such as polyurethane and toxic paints and other synthetic materials that outgas hundreds of dangerous chemicals. Then what about the dishwasher, the washing machine, bleach…the list goes on!
Dirty carpets, smutty vents, toxic paint and plastic blinds Really “tight” homes are ideal environments for mold which may cause breathing issues for people with asthma and allergies. Tightly sealed doors and windows cause more humidity which dust mites love; these tiny bugs cause sinus problems and flu like symptoms.
Opening windows and doors in the morning to allow ventilation is a great idea…except that you might be swapping unclean indoor air or unclean outside air. On top of that, you also lose energy from air and heat! Well, one solution is to take a few steps to “clean up” the inside air.
1. Get a Himalayan Salt Lamp. These lamps produce negative ions; our bodies are full of positive ions in the form of free radicals; they are wreaking havoc on our bodies…aging us prematurely. Heating these salt rocks helps to clean the air of all sorts of pollution.
2. Change to ecologically sound cleaning products; Norwex is a company that sells cloths that clean without chemicals at all! Vinegar, baking soda, salt, essential oils, and even Vodka and peroxide make fabulous cleaning products. Look for organic or non-toxic commercial products and breathe freely in your own home again!
3. For a greener home, look for “green label” carpets, if you feel you need them. It is best to buy natural product floor coverings such as wool rugs and cotton curtains.
4. GET SOME HOUSEPLANTS! Quit worrying about water ruining your floor and think about plants healing your lungs!! Many indoor tropical plants absorb toxins and clean the air as well! Some plants that absorb toxins well include Peace lily, Boston Fern, Philodendron, Rubber Plant, Ivy, and Lucky Bamboo. I have also heard that “mother in law tongue” is a great absorber of negative energy influences.
5. Consider getting a filter for the air in your home and using essential oil diffusers to clean the air. I use both. Our indoor air is heavy with chemicals from off-gassing of polyurethanes, paints, and chemicals used in the home.
I found this helpful list from the American Lung Association. Those creepy dust mites, molds and VOCs seem to make a house unfit to live in. Thankfully, there are some simple, cost-effective solutions to reduce/eliminate many pollutants.
• Change furnace filter once a month.
• Run bathroom vent fan when showering to discourage mold growth
• Clean humidifier and air conditioning drain pans
• No smoking
• Let new carpet, drapes, furniture “air out” before bringing inside
• Keep gutters clean to avoid moisture penetration
• Repair cracks in basement/foundation
• Regularly clean and tune all fuel-burning appliances/fireplaces
Sources: From the American Lung Association, Minneapolis Affiliate
Health Radar Article: “Your Green Home Can Make You Sick”