Job Making You Sick?

posted by Hallie Levine
filed under general postings

Your job can be irritating and annoying, but can it really endanger your health? Yes, says a recent study published in December's American Journal of Epidemiology. The study found that commonly used office items—carbonless (self-copying) paper, photocopiers, and display terminals—can up your risk of health problems like headaches, eye strain, and respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and bronchitis.

"Headaches and eye strain are probably the result of muscular stress and discomfort to the eyes," says study co-author Maritta Jaakkola, M.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. "We're not sure why self-copying paper and photocopiers sparked an increase in respiratory symptoms; one theory is that workers are allergic to solvents and other chemicals that are either inhaled or absorbed via the fingers into the eyes and skin."

So what can you do to reduce your risk of developing work-related health problems? "Copy machines should not be located in rooms where people work, but in separate areas," says Dr. Jaakkola. If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms and/or have a history of asthma, she recommends either avoiding handling self-copying paper completely or, if that's not possible, using protective rubber gloves.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) suggests reducing your risk of eye strain (otherwise known as computer vision syndrome) by keeping your computer screen a little farther away than you normally read, with the top of your video display terminal placed at or slightly below eye level. If you're got bright overhead office lights, the AAO suggests buying a micromesh computer filter (available at most computer stores) to help reduce reflections and glare. You should also take two five-minute breaks every hour to avoid fatiguing your eyes.

Finally, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends a simple exercise to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome (a typing-related overuse injury generally characterized in early stages by numbness or tingling in your hand). Each morning before starting work, extend and stretch both wrists and fingers acutely as if they are in a handstand position. Hold for a count of five, then straighten both wrists and relax fingers. Make a tight first with both hands, then bend both wrists down while keeping the fist. Hold for a count of five. Straighten both wrists and relax fingers for a count of five; repeat exercise 10 times. Now, if only there were a way to avoid that pain in the neck your boss gives you...

From the Message Boards

  • posted by antonnnn
    I graduated from university as a marketer and I have always been interested in sales, I saw myself in this business and wanted to develop in this way. I think everyone knows that China is the main producer of any product and you can get much cheaper goods there, and I was also interested in the Amazon platform and decided that I should try selling my products there. The next step was to find a com...

Follow Us

Explore FitClick
Browse this section for quick links to our calorie counter and other popular diet and fitness features. From diet plans to weight loss programs, FitClick has the content you need to lead a healthy life. Find workout routines, a calorie calculator and more at your source for diet and fitness information.
We have updated our Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018. We have done this in preparation for the EU's new data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Please take the time to review our updated documentation by clicking on the Privacy Policy link at the bottom of this page. By continuing to use this service on or after May 25, 2018, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy.