Sneezing, itchy eyes and nose…these symptoms sound like allergies, but they could be an indicator of sick building syndrome (SBS). If you have a frequent dry cough and often sneeze at work, it might not be a result of your asthma or allergies. Sick building syndrome (SBS) occurs when employees have acute health problems that are linked to the building, and not a specific illness.
The best way to identify if you’re experiencing SBS is to first take a mental or written note of your symptoms. In addition to itchy eyes, nose, or throat irritation; are you experiencing dizziness or nausea? Is there a certain room in the office in which you sneeze more frequently? Do these symptoms only occur or increase when you’re in the office?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, talk to your employer or the property manager about assessing the air quality in the building. Without proper ventilation and air filtration, you could be exposed to high levels of indoor air pollution caused by building materials and furniture that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Mold and bacteria are additional irritants. If you have asthma, SBS can exacerbate your symptoms, so share your concern with your employer if you suspect SBS is a problem in your building.