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Computer Related Health Risks
With the increased use of technology, doctors note an increase in computer-related health risks, too. Excessive use of anything is going to lead to problems, and computers are not an exception. This post covers the main computer-related health risks and how to prevent them.
Nowadays, technology has become an inseparable part of our daily lives and is necessary for every field of work. Many of us devote an incredible amount of our time in front of laptops or computer screens. It is not that easy (if not impossible) to find an environment where we do not use a computer screen for work purposes.
Most of the time, screen equipment like your PC or laptop is harmless; if you use it regularly for extended periods, it can pose various health risks, such as muscle and joint pain, injuries of the wrist, arm, shoulder, and eyestrain.
Does your profession require you to spend a considerable amount of time in front of your computer screen? If so, you could be at high risk of developing certain computer-related health risks. Below, I will briefly discuss computer-related health risks that can be caused by excessive use, and at the end, I will discuss how to prevent these from happening or minimize them.
So, let’s get started!
Most Common Computer Related Health Risks
· Migraines and Headaches
Headaches and migraines and headaches are two different computer-related health risks but have the same consequences. If you stare at your computer or laptop screen for prolonged hours, it can contribute to the frequency and severity of both. Human eyes are brain stalks, having ends exposed to the world. It means everything that you do with your eyes also affects your brain.
Staring constantly at bright lights can also cause strain, leading you to a headache. For computer users who are already experiencing migraines, excessive use of computers can make the situation worse. So, what can you do to decrease or avoid this from happening?
Well, taking specific actions can prevent or reduce headaches caused by digital strain. It includes:
- Ensure that the distance between your eyes and your computer screen is at least 25 inches.
- Avoid staring at your computer screen in an overly dark environment.
- Make sure to prevent glare on the computer screen.
- Maintain a balanced lighting environment. Keep your room lighting as bright as your computer screen.
- Make sure to maximize the font size.
· Depression and Anxiety
Although using the computer for prolonged hours does not cause anxiety or depression, it can worsen the situation for many reasons. Sitting in front of your computer’s bright screen in a dark room and eating fast food is the biggest reason. Still, many of us do it every day, whether we are working or just playing games.
In addition to that, other computer-related health risks like migraines, Vertigo, and headaches also contribute significantly to worsening the situation. Moreover, the things we see or hear also affect us. We see what people in the world want us to see. We see the brief moments where they’re at their best. Then, we look around and start feeling like we are not measuring up. Always remember that comparison is the biggest thief of joy.
The bottom line is staring at computer screens can affect your mood, and here is what you can do to prevent or avoid this from happening.
- Try to avoid using your computer or laptop one hour before your bedtime. Also, remove digital devices from your bedroom before bed.
- Use smartphone apps to remind yourself when to stop staring at your screen or using your phone.
- Avoid using your smartphone as your alarm clock because it will force you to get caught up in checking text from your friends, reading emails, and other important updates from your clients.
- Exercise regularly, think positively, and avoid consuming junk food. Fresh air, good nutrition, and sunshine are powerful aides that can help you deal with depression and anxiety.
· Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI
One of the most common computer-related health risks is repetitive strain injury (RSI). It can be caused by various tasks, such as poor posture, forceful or repetitive activity, etc. RSI mostly affects upper body parts, such as the wrist, elbow, forearm, shoulders, and neck. The condition is generally associated with doing a particular task repeatedly or forcefully for extended periods.
Spending a lot of your time staring at a computer screen or the excessive use of a mouse or keyboard is the most common cause of developing RSI. The symptoms of the condition range from mild to severe and develop gradually. These symptoms include stiffness, aching or tenderness, weakness, throbbing, cramp, etc.
In the beginning, you might only notice them when carrying out a particular repetitive activity. However, without treatment, these symptoms can become worse, causing pain for extended periods. You may also get swelling in certain areas that can last for months.
So, what can you do to prevent RSI?
Well, if you think you have RSI, the below actions can help to eliminate or reduce the issue:
- Try to keep your mouse next to the keyboard. It will require your whole arm’s movement to get it rather than just twisting the wrist to reach it.
- Type gently to minimize the stress put on your fingers.
- Make sure to keep your wrist as flexible as possible when typing. Keeping your wrist flexible will help to decrease or eliminate repetitive or strenuous stress.
- Keep your arms relaxed and get some stretches in when you’re not using a mouse or typing.
A bit of dizziness sounds funny, but Vertigo is a severe health issue. Just imagine you are going to fall over all day, and sometimes you do. Both migraines and Vertigo are somewhat similar computer-related health risks. It means if excessive use of computer can cause or worsen migraines, it can certainly boost the development of Vertigo, too.
Every monitor screen has a flicker, which you do not recognize, and it doesn’t mean you don’t see it. It registers your brain, and constant flickering can complicate Vertigo.
So, what to do to avoid the risk of developing Vertigo?
Depending on your Vertigo’s cause, there may be specific actions that you can perform to relieve symptoms.
- If you devote a considerable amount of your time in front of your computer screen, make sure to maintain a good posture and exercise regularly. Exercises of cervical muscles and back can reduce the problem.
- Make sure your room is well illuminated with the lighting positioned so that it doesn’t fall directly on the screen or your eyes.
- Use an anti-glare screen or spectacles to avoid Vertigo.
- Generally, we blink our eyes up to 12 times in a minute. However, when watching TV or staring at a computer screen, our blink rate is six times in a minute. So, make sure to adjust your computer screen to 40 degrees below your eye level.
· Macular Degeneration
Imagine a blacked-out or darkened circle in the center of everything that you see. That is what macular degeneration does to your eyes. It is another common computer-related health risk caused by excessive use of computers or laptops. The condition can happen through aging and affects people more than cataracts or glaucoma. In this regard, HEV (high energy visible light) is crucial.
You may also have heard about HEV (also referred to as blue light). Computers, screens, and monitors placed less than two feet from your eyes are a source of it. So, staring at a computer screen for prolonged hours can lead to headaches and dry eyes. At the same time, blue light exposure at night can also disrupt sleep patterns.
So, how to avoid macular degeneration?
- Make sure to get yourself computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses. These glasses can help to block the blue light to avoid digital eye strain.
- Try to use anti-reflective lenses that increase contrast and decrease glare while also blocking the blue light from your computer screen.
- Maintain at least two or three feet of distance between your eyes and your computer screen.
- Screen filters are readily available for computer or laptop screens and tablets, smartphones, and other digital devices. These filters are great for decreasing the blue light to protect the retina in your eyes.
- Try to decrease the amount of time you spend in front of your computer screen. If it is not possible, make sure to take frequent breaks to keep your eyes at rest.
Excessive use of anything is severely harmful to your health. And as with anything else, using your digital devices is not bad as long as you are using them responsibly. In today’s world, going without technology is impossible, but we can limit its usage. So, make sure to try the tips mentioned earlier to reduce computer-related health risks.
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