Tag Archives: sick buildings

Removing the fear of going to the doctor’s office

For many people, a trip to the local doctor’s office—for whatever reason, big or small—is fraught with fear. There’s even a term for it: White Coat Syndrome. Seems that sufferers of White Coat Syndrome show signs of an elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and rapid breathing when in a physician’s office, often skewing the results of standard diagnostic tests. They even get so worked up they may forget salient details as to why they came to see a doctor in the first place, requiring them to write down all questions and concerns.

Now with the spread of COVID-19, sufferers of White Coat Syndrome—and everyone else—have more concerns about entering a doctor’s office. That’s because the novel coronavirus is transmitted via aerosolized droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. And it’s logical that infected people would seek out treatment in doctor’s offices, where they would come in contact with other people susceptible to the contagion.

According to the New York Times, people are avoiding hospitals and doctor’s offices, cancelling regularly scheduled appointments and limiting their trips to the doctor’s for minor illness and injuries. And, according to the Boston Globe, emergency rooms across the country have seen a 40 percent drop in cases. People just aren’t going to seek physicians.

Removing the fear of going to the doctor’s office

It’s not for lack of trying from major health institutions though. The Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic and others have issued statements and public service announcements regarding doctor visits during the pandemic, outlining ways for people to be safer. These include wearing masks, using hand sanitizers and social distancing when in waiting rooms.

Another way to ensure the safety of patients and staff: installing free-standing air purification systems, like Aeramax Professional air purifiers. These commercial-grade purifiers use a four-stage True HEPA filtration system to remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, like viruses, the flu, bacteria and germs from enclosed spaces.  Since they are portable, they don’t add additional burden to existing HVAC systems, like bulky in-system HEPA filters do, and can be located in spots here people congregate, like waiting rooms.

Removing the fear of going to the doctor’s office

In fact, scientists have taken up the call for the use of air purifiers. In the September issue of the journal Environment International, researchers outlined the positive effects of using air purifiers to combat the transmission of COVID-19 in indoor air:

“While uncertainties remain regarding the relative contributions of the different transmission pathways, we argue that existing evidence is sufficiently strong to warrant engineering controls targeting airborne transmission as part of an overall strategy to limit infection risk indoors. Appropriate building engineering controls include sufficient and effective ventilation… enhanced by particle filtration and air disinfection, avoiding air recirculation and avoiding overcrowding. Often, such measures can be easily implemented and without much cost…”

So, while air purifiers can’t eliminate a fear of white coats, they can alleviate concerns for virus and bacteria transmission, making it safer to go back to a doctor’s office again.


It makes perfect sense: healthier employees are happier employees. However, many business owners believe developing a wellness program or a smoking cessation class is the path to employee happiness. Not so fast.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) affects Productivity

According to a recent study commissioned by the Building Engineering Services Association in the United Kingdom, almost 70 percent of office workers polled said poor indoor air quality in the workplace made for negative feelings, and worse, lowered productivity.

“The health impacts of poor outdoor air quality are well-documented and have been linked to respiratory tract infections, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” said Steven Loughney of Siemens Building Technologies in a report. “Indoors you’ll find these same pollutants intermingled with dust, carpet fibers, fungal spores, cleaning products, photocopy residues or building materials, which create quite an unhealthy cocktail of contaminants that eventually permeate across the workplace.”

Is it Sick Building Syndrome?

Indoor spaces where poor air is circulated ad nauseum often create symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome—sluggish behavior, frequent headaches, lowered resistance to viruses and colds, difficulty concentrating and increased absenteeism—among occupants.

The EPA estimates that Sick Building Syndrome accounts for $60 billion in lost revenue per year. What’s more, it’s estimated that $220 billion is lost in worker productivity due to absenteeism and employee sickness. In fact, the average cost of one employee sick day is $2,650.

How can you address this?

In many cases, poor building design and inadequate ventilation systems are to blame. There is a way to quickly boost IAQ, making employees both happier and healthier: installing AeraMax Professional air purifiers.

These commercial-grade air purification systems effectively and efficiently remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, like viruses, odors, volatile organic compounds and bacteria from enclosed spaces using hospital-like True HEPA filtration.

The four-stage filtration system of AeraMax Professional systems automatically senses when air needs to be cleaned, working behind the scenes to refresh air and improve the overall health of occupants. That, in turn, can overcome the effects of sick building syndrome and reverse the negativity experienced by employees. So, in this case, healthier means happier.

When business owners hear that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air—which is already heavily polluted—they think the solution lies in focusing on the building’s HVAC system. But that may not solve the problem of poor air quality.
Here’s why:


HVAC systems recirculate

HVAC systems work because they recirculate air. But they don’t do a thing about cleaning the air. Filters can trap very large particles, but things like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), germs, bacteria and allergens pass right through typical HVAC filters. That doesn’t alleviate the problem of poor air quality inside buildings.

Business owners and facility managers may think installing HEPA filters in existing HVAC systems will do the trick. It won’t. That’s because HEPA filters designed specifically for HVAC systems are bulky, and while they do a better job of trapping germs in the direct area near the intake, these thick filters drag down HVAC efficiency, significantly reducing airflow. So, HVAC will work harder, break down more often and still not solve the poor air quality problem. Additionally, these modifications to existing HVAC systems do nothing for areas that aren’t near the intakes.

HVAC systems spread germs farther and faster through recirculation.

Perhaps most importantly, HVAC systems spread germs farther and faster through recirculation. In essence, HVAC systems are air movers, not air improvers. There just isn’t enough efficiency in HVAC systems, because they are designed first and foremost to push air throughout buildings. Also, HVAC systems focus on the entirety of buildings, pushing air at the same rate throughout. That means indoor air quality problem areas will be ignored.


For improvement in IAQ, focus on cleaning instead of moving the air

Instead of recirculating poor air, building managers and business owners need to focus on removing it. In our opinion, the best way to do that is by installing AeraMax Professional air purifiers. These commercial-grade systems use hospital-type True HEPA filtration to effectively, quickly and efficiently remove 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, like germs, bacteria, smoke, odors, allergens and VOCs, from indoor air. The four-stage filtration systems work automatically, because the units sense when poor air is present, adjusting to remove the bad air.

And, AeraMax Professional offers an array of different units to accommodate a variety of room sizes—and even have portable units so specific areas can be targeted on the fly, by moving the purifier into offending areas.

In recent years, researchers have charted a medical phenomenon that affects a wide swath of people with no discernable connection—save one. All the people who experience symptoms of headaches, tiredness, ear, nose and throat irritation, dizziness and nausea have one thing in common: They spend a large amount of time in buildings. And the buildings are making them sick.

Sick Building Syndrome is a malady related to poor air quality in a building—air with germs, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), allergens and pathogens that is recirculated and “trapped” through inadequate ventilation. Compounding the problem is the fact that many buildings are constructed specifically to trap this air, with no way of opening windows. Likewise, older buildings have HVAC systems that cannot handle increased airflow—or worse yet, are “dialed down” to save on energy costs.

sick building syndrome


Newer, more energy-efficient buildings aren’t immune to the problem of Sick Building Syndrome either. According to the World Health Organization, up to 30 percent of new or remodeled buildings also cause Sick Building Syndrome. That’s because paint, solvents and adhesives used in new construction produce VOCs, as do new furniture and newly installed carpeting.

One way to potentially ease the threat of Sick Building Syndrome is to thoroughly scrub inside air. But given that indoor air is constantly being infiltrated with outdoor air—though open doorways and outside access—it’s important to continually monitor and clean it. And that’s exactly what the complete line of AeraMax Professional air purifiers were designed to do.

These commercial-grade air purifiers use a four-stage filtration system employing hospital-like True HEPA filtration to eliminate 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants from enclosed spaces. So, while conventional HVAC systems exacerbate the problem of sick air, AeraMax Professional actually removes it, cycling cleaned air into the enclosed space.

The units have a unique sensing system, which continually monitors the air, adjusting to clean air when necessary. Since they are effective in removing VOCs from the air, they are also ideal in new construction, or buildings that have been recently remodeled.