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Choked up in 2020: ‘Sick building syndrome’ sure to spread

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This year will see an increase in the number of people afflicted with sick building syndrome (SBS), an allergy specialist predicts, and part of the blame lies outdoors too – with air pollution.

Professor Dr Orapan Poachanukoon, Thammasat University’s vice rector for student affairs and also director of the Centre of Excellence for Allergy, Asthma, and Pulmonary Diseases at Thammasat Hospital, said the steady growth of urban populations and the attendant traffic snarls will ensure a rise in SBS cases in 2020.
Already, one-third of urban residents suffer from sick building syndrome, a group of illnesses afflicting people who live or work in buildings prone to factors that disturb their respiration.
As well as air pollutants circulating inside, these factors can include poor ventilation, excess moisture, build-ups of mould, wall paint or ink in publications, and carpeting, bedsheets and pillows and even doll collections that accumulate germs and dust mites.
“If you feel dizzy or have a sore throat or itchy eyes, nose or skin, it means there’s air pollution in the building,” Orapan said.
But people with allergies or respiratory diseases can’t simply spend more time outside, since their symptoms might be exacerbated by the open air.
She urged building owners and landlords to ensure a healthy environment indoors. “Residents of condominiums in areas where the air quality index reaches risky levels should install air purifiers in the rooms where they spend most of their time.”

Published : January 02, 2020