Mobile Health Hazards

Sharing for a healthy society.

Germs: Your cellphone probably goes with you everywhere. Ever check it while you were — errr — in the bathroom? And when’s the last time you cleaned it? Ever? It makes sense that there might be bacteria, viruses, or other germs on it. One study found 1 in 6 phones have E. coli bacteria on it, probably because people didn’t wash their hands well. On the bright side, it’s a hard surface, which usually makes it harder for germs to survive. Still, it’s probably a good idea to wipe it down now then.

Text Neck Syndrome

Too much time looking down at your phone can strain your neck muscles and cause tightness or spasms. You might even get nerve pain that goes to your back, or to your shoulder and down your arm. Take breaks at least every 20 minutes to stretch and arch your back. Try not to hunch forward. It helps to hold your phone higher up when you text, too. Posture exercises from yoga or Pilates will help you stay strong and avoid neck pain.

Awkward Phone Calls

Ever pinch the phone between your shoulder and ear while you do something else? It’s not a natural position. Do it for too long and you’ll probably notice that your neck hurts. If you can’t avoid it, take breaks and move your neck in other directions to keep it loose. If the damage is done, simple rest, a heating pad, and over-the-counter drugs for pain and stiffness should help. Talk to your doctor if it lasts more than a few days.

Text and Drive

Just don’t do it. Sending a text takes 5 seconds of your attention. That seems so quick. But it’s not harmless. At 55 mph, your car goes about the length of a football field — more than enough space to cause a serious car wreck. Scientists figure this means you may be as much as 23 times more likely to crash. And the risk is the same whether you type or “voice text.”

Talk and Drive

Maybe you think it’s pretty safe to talk on the phone when you drive. It’s not. You’re 4 times more likely to crash when you do it. It is a cause in more than a million crashes a year, or 20% of all car wrecks, including those that injure and kill people. If you really need to take or make a call, pull over. 

Surfing at Night

Not waves — the Internet. Too much of any light after the sun goes down can mess up your sleep, which is linked to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other health problems. And the “blue light” your smartphone gives off is especially bad. Keep your bedroom dark for better rest. You can also help your nighttime sleep if you get lots of natural light during the day.

Walkin’ or Talkin’ — Not Both

You’re walking down the sidewalk and need to send a quick text. How long does it take? A few seconds? Enough time to trip and fall into a parking meter or car traffic. Just stop for a moment. Those seconds aren’t worth an accident. And it’s not just outside: The most common injuries happen while talking on the phone at home — usually muscle and tendon strains, broken bones, and head injuries.

Cancer Risk? Studies don’t show any solid link to cancer or even tumors in people. It’s something scientists continue to study. If you’re worried about the radiation from cellphones, you can limit your cellphone use, or use it in speaker mode or with a headset or earpiece 🙂 🙂

Sharing for a healthy society.

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