Do you have sick building syndrome or a building-related disease?

| Jul 28, 2016 | workplace injuries

You do not have to worry about getting sick from your job only when you work with hazardous chemicals or materials on a daily basis. Even if you just work in an office in San Antonio, you are at risk of falling ill. Your ill health might be due to sick building syndrome or building-related diseases, according to eMedicine Health.

Although the two categories of illnesses are related, there are some important distinctions between them. You would be categorized as having a building-related disease if you have a specific condition, such as an infection, allergies  or cancer, that remains even when you leave the building. It is directly related to some cause in the building that can be easily identifiable. This might be asbestos, a hazardous chemical, leaking gases, mold, pathogens in the building itself, and other potential contaminations.

On the other hand, sick building syndrome defines a general feeling of malaise that only occurs while in the building. Although no specific cause is cited, many experts believe it is due to poor indoor ventilation or other indoor air pollutants. With this condition, when you leave work the building and head home, are on vacation, or otherwise away from the building, you feel fine. There is also no documented long-term medical complication, and there is no discernable cause for the ill health. You might experience eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, skin rashes or other irritations, mental fatigue, and other general symptoms of feeling unwell. 

For example, if you were to find out that you had developed cancer due to asbestos in the building, then you would be categorized as having a building-related disease. You would also fall under this category if you developed problems due to mold exposure. Conversely, you would be categorized as having sick building syndrome if you felt ill while at work but anytime you left the building, you felt better and could not be attribute it to a certain chemical in the air or a known allergen.

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