Professor Dr.Orapan Poachanukoon, Vice President for Student Affairs, Thammasat University, and Director of Center of Excellence for Asthma, Allergy and Pulmonary diseases, revealed that sick building syndrome is not a specific illness but comprised with various symptoms that occurs in occupants who, facing with many risk factors, live in their buildings or workplaces. This syndrome is related to air pollution. It is predicted that in 2020, more city dwellers will suffer from this symptom.
Prof.Dr. Orapan said that sick building syndrome is one of the conditions that medical experts are aware of and pay close attention to. One third of the people living in the city experience acute health and there will be more and more people suffering as the population grows exponentially. City will be overpopulated and have more traffic. Some buildings have good ventilation and use volatile organic compounds for the walls.
Pollution in the building can come from outside or inside sources. It could be because of inadequate ventilation system, dusty rug, chemical wallpaper paint, and bacteria in the wall. It causes symptoms like exhaustion, nausea, headaches, cough, sneezing, nasal irritation, and difficulty in breathing. “We have to examine ourselves. If we walk in the building and feel dizzy, exhausted, itchy eyes, throat dryness, nasal and skin irritated, it means that we live in a poor air quality building which can cause illness.” said Prof.Dr. Orapan.
Prof.Dr.Orapan also says that going outside can help people feel better. However, for people who have allergy and pulmonary diseases, they will suffer more and have more acute symptoms. For instance, asthma patients are more risky to have an illness but normal people who live in the building are also more likely to be sick in the end. Moreover, city dwellers are also prone to have office syndrome as they use the same muscle and lack of exercising. Likewise, NCDs (Non-Communicable diseases) are also the result of unhealthy lifestyle such as eating habits and lack of exercising.
Preventions for this illness are improving building to be more friendly to our health. For condominium dwellers, although the building has good ventilation, if it is located in a poor air quality index, we have to use an air purifier. Air purifiers must be put in the area where we spent most of our time in that area of the house. We have to turn it on 30 minutes before entering the room. In another point, the bedroom should be tidy and have no carpet which is the source of dust. We should avoid having dolls and too many pillows which are the source of bacteria and allergens.
“More importantly, we have to adapt our behavior to be healthy according to 4Es principle which include eating, exercise, environment, and emotion. We have to be alerted and follow the news. If you must go to any place where the dust index value is high, don’t forget to wear the mask or make it a habit to bring it along with you. We should wear a N95 mask to prevent PM2.5 and virus. Allergic patients should take medicine with them at all times because we don’t know when we will encounter these risk factors“ said Prof.Dr. Orapan.
Prof.Dr.Orapan said that the air pollution in 2019 has created a lot of concerns for us. From 2020 onward, people will continue to get more and more sick from the sick building syndrome. Thus, we all need to be more careful.