4 tech dangers you don’t care about

April 13, 2011 - 0:0

Remember carpal tunnel syndrome? These days we’re tapping and typing 24/7 with so many new and different gadgets—smart phones, GPS systems, MP3 players, tablets, etc. So we’re at greater risk for painful and even potentially deadly side effects than ever. Don’t let the digital age do in your health! Stay safe with these easy preventative tips for four top tech issues.

- Muscle pain Unlimited texts plans on cell phones are wallet-friendly, but too-frequent texting or emailing on phones with small screens and tiny keys can cause aches and pains. “People unknowingly brace themselves, tightening their neck and shoulders, to ensure accuracy while typing,” says Erik Peper, Ph.D., professor at San Francisco State University.
The fix: Release tension by taking quick breaks between messages to roll your neck and raise and lower your shoulders. Do each exercise three or four times. Repeat as needed.
- Hearing loss IPod addicts, listen up. Noise louder than 85 decibels, equivalent to standing on the side of a busy street, can permanently damage our ears, yet in order to hear our tunes above the din of mass transit, or noisy coworkers, we turn up the volume too much, says Craig Kasper, an audiologist in New York City.
The fix: To save your ears, set your iPod volume bar below 70 percent, particularly if listening for more than an hour. When at your desk or on an airplane or train, use sound-isolating earphones to block out surrounding noise so you don’t have to crank up the volume.
Car accidents “Using electronic devices behind the wheel can be a distraction and may slow your reaction time,” says José Alberto Uclés, spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And it’s not merely texting and driving that don’t mix. Using a GPS can also be dangerous. Drivers may weave or slam on the brakes more often without realizing it.
The fix: Stay safe by programming your device in advance. This gives you time to review the route before you’re on the highway and confused about whether you should take exit 19 or 19A.
- Radiation exposure Most of us can’t imagine ditching our cell phone, but some studies suggest that the radiation it produces could be putting us at an increased risk for brain cancer and other health problems, says Devra Davis, Ph.D., a toxicologist in Jackson, Wyoming. For now, the FDA reports that the research linking the two is still inconclusive.
The fix: Reduce your exposure by using Bluetooth devices to increase the distance between the phone and your head, Davis says. And keep your cell in your purse, not your pocket, to further lower the amount of radiation you come into contact with.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome It might seem like old news, but carpal tunnel is still a concern, especially for women—we’re three times likelier to suffer from the syndrome than men. The repetitive motion disorder occurs when prolonged pressure is put on the median nerve that runs from the shoulder down the arm and to the hand through the carpal tunnel, a narrow passage inside the wrist.
The fix: Try this posture tweak from Ann Goldberg, a certified hand therapist at North Shore Occupational Therapy in Roslyn, New York: Sit straight with your feet flat on the floor, and position the keyboard slightly lower than your elbows so your arms extend 90 to 110 degrees. This will help keep the bend out of your wrist that compresses the median nerve. Work well, be well! (Source: health.yahoo.net)