Computers & Your Health
|Computers & Your Health|
Computers themselves are not hazardous – but using them improperly can cause health problems or aggravate existing conditions.
Problems and Possible Causes
- Headaches, nausea, dizziness, and irritability – possible cause: bad lighting, glare, or poor posture
- Back and neck aches – possible cause: poor posture, poor ergonomics at the workstation.
- Eyestrain – possible cause: bad lighting, glare; screen too close or too far away.
- Hand, wrist, and elbow pain – possible cause: repetitive motion of hands and wrists.
Properly Designed Work Stations
- Proper setup of the computer screen: about 12-18 inches from face, eye level, comfortable angle, and close to blank wall if possible.
- Proper setup of keyboard: tilted at a comfortable angle, wrists straight, elbows at 90-degree angle, hands and arms parallel to floor, and use a wrist pad if necessary.
- Set up document holder at the same level as the screen.
- Organize work area: enough room for books, documents, phone, etc., and wide enough to move your legs.
Proper Posture and Position
- Use ergonomics to fit your needs.
- Allow enough room to shift your position periodically.
- Use adjustable chair and other furniture if possible: back straight, head level, feet flat on floor, knees at 90-degree angle, supported lower back, and arms able to rest.
Avoiding Eye Strain
- Proper lighting can reduce eye irritation, blurred vision, headaches, and dizziness: set screen at low brightness, use non-glare screen cover, and call for maintenance if screen is blurry or if necessary replace monitor.
- Adjustment of the computer screen: eye level, adequate lighting for display and documents, no light in your eyes, and use individual lights for other tasks.
- Ways to reduce glare: place screen at right angle to window, adjust window blinds or shades, use screen cover if necessary, and set screen at low brightness with high contrast.
Avoiding Stress and Tension
- Change positions occasionally.
- Rest your eyes by focusing on a distant object.
- Exercise at your desk – shrug shoulders, stretch head and neck, reach arms up overhead.
- Totally relax your body, letting hands and arms dangle.
- Change your workflow to take breaks from long stints at the computer.
Avoiding Hand and Wrist Injury
- Frequent hand and wrist breaks.
- Gently stretch tender tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
- Easy exercises: 1) extend arms in front, flex hands - hold for five count, 2) make tight fists and bend both wrists downward - hold for five count, 3) straighten wrists and relax fingers – hold for five count.
- Straighten your wrists as you type.
- Keep your fingers loose.
- Don’t pound the keyboard.
Taking Care of Your Computer
- Keep the screen clean of dust, fingerprints, etc.
- Keep food and beverages away.
- Make sure the computer is maintained and cleaned regularly.
There is no credible evidence that radiation from computer screens is hazardous – levels of radiation are extremely low and most of the radiation is from the back and sides of the monitor, not the screen.