Introducing a new weekly segment known as the HEALTH & SAFETY segment which will be featured every Monday to guide throughout the week.
The Computer has made life easy in many respects; from the wide range of opportunities in the internet to filing systems, software that assist with different tasks, etc. In the same way, several ailments have resulted from improper use of the computer, these include carpal tunnel syndrome, partial and total blindness, tiredness, headaches resulting from posture issues and eyestrain, etc. This edition takes a brief look at these items with a view to making every day work around the computer Safer.
Eye strain is when your eyes become overworked from staring at something for a long period of time. Although eye strain can happen anywhere, the most common place for eye strain to attack is at the office in front of the computer. Your eyes have teeny muscles that are working while you type. After a full day of hard work, these muscles get tired which is why your eyes start to strain and hurt.
· Headaches, which are known as eye strain headaches
· A stiff or sore neck
· Dry or itchy eyes
· Watery eyes
· Blurred vision
· Double vision
· Trouble concentrating on the screen or focusing on other items
· Odd glares from the screen
· Color fringes or color imbalance
Following measures can prevent as well as cure computer eyestrain:
1. The first step in your plan of action is to visit an eye doctor. They will be able to tell you if you need corrective lenses, if prescriptive eye drops will help, or if there is an underlying problem causing the eye strain headache and other symptoms. Keeping your eyes in check is the first step to overall health.
2. Try to blink throughout the day. It sounds silly but when working on a computer, you blink less than five times the normal rate, which can cause some of the symptoms of eye strain like dry eyes, headaches and itchiness. And,
3. Break throughout the day. Give your eyes the rest they deserve by focusing on other tasks periodically throughout the day. These tasks could be making a phone call, filing away some work, chatting with a co-worker, taking a brief walk around the office, going to the washroom or getting a glass of water. Aim for a ten minute break every hour so your eyes can refocus and you can get back to pain-free work.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpus is a word derived from the Greek word karpos, which means "wrist." The wrist is surrounded by a band of fibrous tissue that normally functions as a support for the joint. The tight space between this fibrous band and the wrist bone is called the carpal tunnel. Any condition that causes swelling or a change in position of the tissue within the carpal tunnel can squeeze and irritate the median nerve. Irritation of the median nerve in this manner causes tingling and numbness of the thumb, index, and the middle fingers -- a condition known as "carpal tunnel syndrome."
SYMPTOMS OF CHRONIC CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
v Cold hands with warm forearms due to constriction of blood circulation in and around the carpal tunnel. Restricted blood circulation is a contributing factor to chronic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
v Burning pain that radiates up the centre of the forearm -as far as the shoulder and neck.
v Difficulty gripping the steering wheel and overall decreasing grip strength as the hand muscles weaken due to pain and lower levels of hand activity.
v Clumsiness with hands, routinely dropping objects or the inability to make a fist.
v Loss of fine motor skills in the hand, inhibiting such tasks as writing, tying a shoe, working a mouse, picking up coins, buttoning a shirt or coat, threading a needle, doing needlepoint, etc.
v Weak hands and inability to support one's self with hands on stairs, or climbing into a truck or on a ladder, or when balancing with a cane or in other precarious situations.
v Inhibited hand and wrist movement due to pain, and numb tingling hands or tingling fingers.
v Loss of feeling or swollen sensations in the hand or fingers
v Finger Pain, finger numbness and/or finger clumsiness particularly in the thumb and/or in the index or middle fingers. (the pinky or little finger is not affected or controlled by the median Nerve nor is it generally associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).
v Constant aching of the upper shoulder and neck is common as the pain follows the nerve path up to the nerve center in the brain.
Julius Abanshebe Akpong TMIOSH, MISPON, is a Member of the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria has published books like, Simplified Chemistry for Senior Secondary 1, The path to Greatness, Reaching the Apex, Atmospheric heavy metals deposition and dispersion in Akpabuyo LGA of Cross River State. He is the publisher of the SuperPsychic Achiever, several HSE articles and bulletins for corporate bodies, international journals and newspapers like Business Insight and is yet to publish his first HSE book; HAZID companion.