Sick building syndrome is the name for symptoms you only get while in a particular building, usually an office.
Check if you have sick building syndrome
Symptoms of sick building syndrome get worse the longer you’re in a particular building and get better after you leave.
Other people in the building may also have symptoms.
Possible symptoms include:
- blocked or runny nose
- dry, itchy skin
- dry, sore eyes
- tiredness and difficulty concentrating
How to ease the symptoms yourself
It might help to:
- open windows to improve ventilation, if you can
- not set the temperature too high (aim for about 19C) and don’t change it lots of times during the day
- try to reduce workplace stress
- take regular screen breaks if you use a computer
- go outside for some fresh air during lunchtime and other breaks
Try these things to see if your symptoms improve.
If you think you have sick building syndrome, speak to:
- your manager or employer – if you get symptoms at work
- the building manager or owner (such as the landlord) – if you get symptoms in another building
They should look into the problem and try to find a solution.
Causes of sick building syndrome
It’s not clear exactly what causes sick building syndrome.
It’s probably due to a combination of things, including:
- poor ventilation or poorly maintained air conditioning systems
- dust, smoke, fumes or fabric fibres in the air
- bright or flickering lights
Sick building syndrome is most common in open-plan offices, but you can get it in any building.