Computer Dependent Office Work May Induce Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Computer users most often work in closed window offices that do not let in fresh air leaving the indoor air stale and unhealthy in many cases. Putting in central air purification systems could be effective in rebalancing the air. However, air purifiers need fresh outdoor air to recycle indoors for effective functioning. Consequently a lot of workers who otherwise do not suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Winter Blues find themselves in the winter months when the heater is on, feeling more lethargic, depressed and moodier than usual. They could also find themselves experiencing sinus allergies.

This additional stress could result in reduced productivity and increased work related tensions that are sometimes carried home by workers resulting in relationship stress at home and at work. This could make it feel like the world is caving in with no one to help.

Because NIOSH and OSHA guidelines, do not specify that ionizing air purifiers should be provided there is no legal obligation for employers to get one. Workers who want a change consequently need to negotiable with their employers on moral suasion basis.

Please note that the so-called ozone air purifiers are not the same as ionizing air purifiers and could be a health hazard because they fill the air with ozone chemicals as their primary function. This could be dangerous to health. If you have one installed at work please get your employer to get rid of it. Tell them to get an air ionizing one instead.

Workers may need to show that it would be cheaper to make these changes than accumulate healthcare cost. Presenting the issue as a cost containment measure for the organizations to consider may be the best way to go. A more comfortable and healthy worker is a boost to corporate financial bottom line.

This behavioral swing is caused by two new stresses added to the existing stress of computer use. First there is the stress of a decrease in sunlight intensity and duration. Secondly there is the increased chemical imbalance of indoor air caused by the air-drying and sometimes fuel burning effects of operating heaters.

The problem is that we have built a computer use dependent work place without making changes to our building structures to meet the air chemical balance requirements for working effectively in such an environment.

Installing an air purifier with ionizing capabilities will save a lot of money on the long run, Changing the windows if possible to types that can be cracked open to let in fresh air is a second thing to consider. The purifier needs access to fresh air to work effectively. Circulating stale indoor air without air from the outside mixing with it will not effectively balance the chemical and moisture levels in the air.

This issue is not just for workplaces alone schools and homes need to consider these suggestions for student and personal health improvement respectively.


Adetutu Ijose


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