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Avoiding hazards of your device

By LAJU ARENYEKA

Typing with your thumb is not as harmless as it seems. In actual fact, health experts say that it causes a condition known as repetitive strain injury (RSI). Last week, we learned that prolonged use of ear phones can lead to deafness or mental disorientation. Here are safe tips to ensure that that device doesn’t harm or make you sick.

Problems from the computer screen?

Studies show that eye strain has become a common work-related health complaint, particularly among office workers. But some ophthalmologists argue that there are many misconceptions about sitting in front of a computer or TV screen for hours on end. Problems such as headaches usually stem from poor posture or distance from the screen, rather than the eyes being strained. While there is no evidence to show that computers cause long-term vision deterioration, sitting in front of a screen all day causes your blink rate to reduce from 20 times a minute to once or twice a minute, this has a tendency to dry the eyes.  To protect your eyes, take frequent breaks and intentionally blink more often.

Blackberry thumb,iPod finger

Are your thumbs sore or wrists aching? If you are an excessive mobile phone or iPod user, you could have “BlackBerry thumb” or “iPod finger”. Health experts in Australia are noticing a rise in repetitive strain injury (RSI)-style injuries, particularly with the advent of the internet on pocketsized hand-held devices. The American Society of Hand Therapists has issued a consumer alert, warning users of small electronic gadgets that heavy thumb use could lead to painful swelling of the sheath around the tendons in the thumb. The group recommends taking frequent breaks during emailing and resting your arms on a pillow for support.

Back breaking work?

No one could compare sitting at a computer screen to back breaking work until recently. To save your back and neck from torture, viewing distances that are too long can cause you to lean forward and strain to see small text.  This can fatigue the eyes and place stress on the torso because the backrest is no longer providing support.

Viewing distances that are too short may cause your eyes to work harder to focus and may require you to sit in awkward postures. For instance, you may tilt your head backward or push your chair away from the screen causing you to type with outstretched arms. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 40 inches (50 and 100 cm) from the eye to the front surface of the computer screen


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