Do you wonder why you feel better in one space and then crappy in another? For example, do are you more relaxed when you’re in a hotel or even your friend’s house than in your home? One reason could be sick house syndrome.
What Is Sick House Syndrome?
Sick house syndrome is like sick building syndrome. It is an unofficial health condition characterized by a cluster of illness-related symptoms. In the workplace, for example, employees might complain about:
- Stuffy or itchy nose
- Postnasal drip
Although it is not a recognized disease, it affects people’s productivity because of an increased risk of absenteeism. It also makes the workplace unpleasant to be in, and that can decrease motivation and engagement.
Unfortunately, these symptoms can also happen inside the house. You know that it’s the space that’s causing problems when you feel much better as soon as you leave, especially for longer periods like when you travel.
What Causes It?
The reasons are unclear, but it could be because of:
Molds and other fungi – Molds and other fungi are living things that can release volatile compounds into the air from biological processes. They can also multiply fast, and their spores can travel through the air.
When a person breathes them, these spores can irritate the respiratory lining, from the nose to the lungs. They will then exhibit symptoms, such as coughing. Many are also sensitive to molds and can develop allergic reactions. In rare but severe cases, they can lead to anaphylactic shock.
Paint – Like molds, substances such as pain can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They can combine with other gases in the air, increasing the risk of indoor pollution. Some are also carcinogenic or harm the vital organs over time.
Radon – Radon is a naturally occurring element that is also radioactive. It is commonly found in soil, but it can enter houses since it can rise and seep through gaps and cracks in the walls and foundation.
How Do You Prevent Sick House Syndrome?
Unless the problem is severe, you need not change your home. Instead, you can consider doing these:
1. Get Your Electricity Fixed – Molds grow exponentially because of moisture, and sometimes a home can have high moisture levels because of dysfunctions of appliances, such as air-conditioning units. A residential electrical service can be all you need to decrease molds.
2. Test Your Home for Radon – Radon is a colorless, odorless gas, so you need a unique instrument to determine its presence. You can already buy a kit online. However, you can also work with a specialist who can not only test the home but also offer recommendations or even implement solutions.
3. Use More Environment-friendly Paint – These days, some paint brands manufacture cans with zero or low VOC. The latter is usually cheaper than the former, but if health is a priority, you might as well invest in zero-VOC paint.
People can get sick for many reasons, and if you’re feeling unwell, it’s always best to see your doctor. However, you might also need to look inside your house. The reason might already be in your midst.