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How a sick home can be making you ill

Monday, December 5th


Woman with cold

Cold and allergy symptoms could be signs of sick building syndrome.

It never fails: Winter arrives and with it comes coughing, sneezing and a runny nose. We know that germs cause colds, but did you know that your home could actually be making you sick? Invisible pollutants in the air inside your home can be to blame for your runny nose and itchy eyes. Allergies aren't the only thing made worse by indoor air pollution; asthma, immune system disorders and cancer can also be caused or worsened by exposure to indoor pollutants.

Health effects that seem to be brought on by spending time inside a building - such as your home or workplace -  is referred to as sick building syndrome (SBS). 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air pollution among the top five environmental dangers. According to the EPA, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than the unhealthiest outdoor air found anywhere in the United States.

Health effects from indoor air pollutants can be experienced shortly after exposure or years later. The severity of the health effects also varies. 

Where do indoor pollutants come from?

There are many sources of indoor air pollution. Pollen, dust mites and mold spores are biological pollutants that grow in damp, warm environments. Formaldehyde, benzene and acetone are volatile chemicals found in some building materials, furnishings and cleaning products. Radon and carbon monoxide are among the most dangerous indoor pollution sources, because the gases are invisible and odorless. Prolonged exposure to radon can cause cancer.

How do I treat sick building syndrome?

There are many actions you can take to avoid sick building syndrome. Let's start with the most important: measuring radon levels. Because radon is a colorless, odorless gas, the only way to tell whether you have a radon problem in your home is with testing. If a high radon level is found in your home, a radon mitigation system can be installed to reduce the level of radon in the air. 

One of the best ways to improve air quality in the home is with proper ventilation. Installing a home ventilation system - such as the Breathe EZ energy recovery ventilator - can remove polluted air from inside the home and replace it with fresh air from outside. Another way to improve your indoor air quality is by maintaining a healthy level of humidity. Mold and dust mites love moisture. A dehumidifier can help reduce moisture and control allergens. When shopping for home cleaners or fragrances, look for fragrance-free or naturally-scented products. When buying new furniture, carpets, curtains or other furnishings, make sure they don’t contain formaldehyde.

National Radon Defense focuses on lowering radon levels in homes and offers a wide range of solutions for improving indoor air quality. Call us at 1-888-370-6921 or request an estimate online to learn how your local National Radon Defense dealer can help improve the health and comfort of your home, so you can start feeling better!