Feeling Sick Lately? It Might Be Your Workplace

Have you ever felt like your energy was low? Have you not been at 100 percent without any clear cause? If you think that you might be ill or just off your game, you might be surprised to hear that your workplace could be responsible.

Of course, the fact that office buildings are breeding grounds for disease won’t be too surprising — after all, many of us probably catch our seasonal colds from touching a contaminated surface in the workplace. However, when it comes to workplace illness, we’re not just talking about the common cold. More insidious threats are lurking in office hallways and the more you know about them, the more you can do to make yourself healthy.

Workplace Depression

Sometimes it isn’t a nasty virus or foreign bacteria that you encounter at work that makes you sick — sometimes it’s the work itself that’s bringing you down. If you haven’t been feeling yourself lately, watch for these signs of workplace depression.

  • Taking more sick days.
  • Feeling unmotivated when it comes to your work.
  • Becoming anti-social in the workplace.
  • Feeling tired all the time in the office.

Depression in the workplace is a serious condition that should be treated just as seriously as the flu or any other illness. You might be suffering from workplace depression if you’ve recently undergone some big changes at work. Changes in management, your workplace duties, or even location can lead to depression. If you think that you’re depressed, speak with a doctor to learn about your options for feeling better.

Workplace Illness

Most of us have probably caught a nasty cold from our place of work. That’s just life and, besides washing your hands often and encouraging sick coworkers to stay home until they feel better, there isn’t much that you can do about it. However, it’s not just annoying viruses that can be spread through the office — sometimes more serious illnesses can be passed along in your office building or place of work. When it comes to these workplace illnesses, you should know that managers often have a legal obligation to protect you from workplace illness.

Here are some common diseases that you should watch out for in your place of work.


Perhaps one of the most common diseases to affect office workers, mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer that is caused by asbestos. Many older buildings may have been constructed using asbestos which, when it gets into the air in powder form, can cause a buildup of tissue within your lungs.

Building managers are responsible for protecting workers from possible asbestos inhalation per the EPA’s guidelines.

Chemical-Related Illnesses

Unfortunately, asbestos isn’t the only poor choice for construction material when it comes to older office buildings. Some older buildings may still contain lead paint. In fact, 87 percent of buildings built before 1940 were painted with lead-based paint. Although lead rarely affects adults in the workplace, lead-based paint can work its way into environmental dust and pose a serious threat to children who may be visiting the office or pregnant women who are still at work before taking maternity leave.

Lead exposure is one of the more common threats in office buildings, but there are many chemicals that some people can encounter depending on their line of work. Industrial workers in particular may be exposed to unsafe chemicals. If you’ve been feeling down at work lately, it may be a good idea to speak with your doctor and learn what sort of chemicals you encounter in your place of work.

Sickness in the workplace isn’t always as simple as the common cold or the rare stomach flu. Knowing what sort of illnesses you can encounter in the office is the first step to feeling better.

11/6/2017 8:00:00 AM
Nicolas Cesare
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Nick Cesare is a writer from Boise, Idaho. He completed his Masters in medical ethics at the University of Colorado at Boulder and now enjoys writing on cutting-edge topics in healthcare.
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