Although computer use doesn't seem like a dangerous habit, there are some risks associated with it, especially for those who use computers for long periods every day. Most of the risks associated with using a computer can be minimised by taking appropriate precautions and limiting the amount of use.
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Prolonged use of a computer can cause eye fatigue. Sufferers usually experience this as a dull ache in the eyes. Other symptoms may include trouble focusing, headaches and an itching sensation. Although this type of eyestrain is only temporary, it can be very uncomfortable. Computer users should avoid staring at a screen for too long. Varying tasks and taking periodic breaks to rest the eyes will also help to reduce the likelihood of eyestrain. Adjusting the computer screen to reduce glare can also help reduce eye fatigue.
Shoulder, back and neck problems
Pain in the shoulders, back and neck can come from improper posture while using a computer. Many computer users sit hunched, with their arms bent at an uncomfortable angle or their head tilted. While this can seem harmless over the short term, in the long run it puts excessive strain on the muscles of the neck, back, arms and shoulders. Computer users should sit upright, with their arms bent at a 90-degree angle. The head should be tilted forward no more than 15-30 degrees. Breaks to rise and stretch will also help to reduce muscle pain and fatigue.
Repetitive strain injury
Repetitive strain injuries from computer use are common, particularly in the wrists and hands. To prevent this type of injury, users should place their hands on the keyboard in a neutral position. In a neutral position, the wrists are straight, not bent; the hands should point in the same direction as the forearms. The forearms and wrists should also be level; badly-placed keyboards can cause typists to tilt their wrists upward, putting strain on the tendons.
Although it can be mentally exhausting, working with a computer isn't the most physically demanding of activities. People who work with a computer all day -- and often spend much of their leisure time with a computer as well -- can develop a sedentary lifestyle, putting them at increased risk for obesity, heart disease and other health problems. Increasing exercise can fight this problem; computer users should take regular breaks to walk around and find ways to incorporate active exercise into their daily routines.
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