Technology is a boon for networking and marketing;it enhances connectivity, offers living in comfort,provides an edge in diagnosing diseases and organizes an overall up gradation in one’s lifestyle. Along with these multifaceted benefits one is forced to review the health hazards of technologyas have been very alarming.
Five top most technology related health hazards that bring about immediate cause of worry to the users are as follows:
- Mobile phone access all day long can wreck spine, cause blemishes, strain eyes, can lead to cancer also
- Continuous internet browsing on computers can give headache, cause anxiety and loneliness, suffer from deep vein thrombosis
- Ruin quality of sleep
- Typing and texting can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome
- Desk work, cars and elevators deprive from natural exercise of walking leading to cardiovascular diseases
Technology hazards on health can be studied best with the influence of usage of computers which have become an epitome of modern life, being used in every aspect of life from calculating grocery bills, education, telecommunications, banking operations, fashion and entertainment, healthcare name any sphere and one will find computers. Inorder to understand the presence of the technology hazards on health, we look at a study.
In a cross-sectional study of IT professionals working in different sectors were identified and representative sample was taken to complete the sample size of 200; software developers (82), call center (54) and data entry/processing (64). The study period was from April 2002 – March 2003. With two inclusion criteria as 1) the subject should be working in the current job for past six months 2) he/ she should be working on the computer for at least 3 hours/ day or 15 hours/week.The mean age of the study subjects was 29.8 ± 4.3 years with 53.5% of the subjects being in the age group 21-30 years. The males outnumbered females in the ratio of 7:3.
Result of the study was:
- The frequency of computer related problems in the study group were visual problems in 76%, musculoskeletal problems in 77.5% and stress in 35%. The problems were (comparable among) females (96.7%) and males (91.3%).
- The common visual problems seen were redness (37%), burning and/or tiredness (31.5%), Headache (29.5%), pain in the eye (23.5%), itching (22.5%) and watering of eyes (19%).
- The common musculoskeletal symptoms were pain (55%) and stiffness (14.8%).
- The common sites affected with musculoskeletal problem were neck (44%), low back (30.5%), wrist/hand (19%) and shoulders (12.5%).
- The problem of neck, low back and shoulders in last twelve months were present in large proportion of subjects, for more than thirty days.
- The shoulder problem was most debilitating causing reduction in Activities of Daily living (ADL) in 32% of subjects.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome was positive in 11.5%
- The nerve involvement was suggested by numbness and tingling sensation in 12% and 9.5% of the subjects respectively.
- Depression was present in 8%
The study concluded with an immediate need for the concerned authorities to collaborate and enforce suitable preventive measures. The relevant and necessary knowledge about the ergonomic needs of these problems require probing. As initial symptoms and conditions discussed above even though mild and temporary, later with increasing years one can assume them to turn more intense and of permanent nature. It is evident that computer related morbidity has become an important occupational health hazard and is a matter of great concern.