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Sunday,November 29,2020 04:24 AM

Beat computer woes

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th October 2006 03:00 AM

From Monday to Monday, 8:00am to 10:00pm, Mark sits at his computer. It is his working machine, leisure provider, information source and partner.

From Monday to Monday, 8:00am to 10:00pm, Mark sits at his computer. It is his working machine, leisure provider, information source and partner.

By Thomas Pere

From Monday to Monday, 8:00am to 10:00pm, Mark sits at his computer. It is his working machine, leisure provider, information source and partner.
But this, experts say, comes with a price. Computer related illnesses are some of the modern diseases we have to cope with. Mark complains of headache and general body weakness. Doctors say it is fatigue, which is one of the most frequent symptoms associated with computer use. “Doctors said I should take some minutes off from my computer and install an anti-glare against screen brightness,” he said.

Office design
Sam Wambugu, a monitoring and evaluation specialist for Family Health International, says these problems can be traced to office ergonomics, which refers to designing and arranging furnishings and space to fit the natural movements of the human body.
“Ergonomics can help you avoid repetitive stress injuries that are borne of typing or bending,” he said. Wambugu also says it is essential to receive a decent amount of natural light when sitting at your desk. You can control the amount of natural light in the office with blinds or shades.”
Electric light can also affect you. Harsh overhead lighting can cause headaches, eyestrain and fatigue. This problem is handled during the designing of office premises with added filters or introducing lower indirect lighting.

Computer
“The most important aspect of computer workstation is adjustability,” says Wambugu.
Nancy Egwayu, a senior principal physiotherapist at Mulago Hospital, also says in any seated position at work, only specific parts of the body are commonly used. These include the neck and the legs. And it is this unbalanced condition that causes problems.
“Relaxed muscles can get weaker because of under activity while the over worked ones get tired leading to accumulation of wastes due to imbalanced flow of blood,” she says.
“In the long run, this results into such problems as fatigue (muscular, emotional and visual) or a combination; development of a poor posture; back pain which may also lead to posture deviations, swellings on the legs medically known as oedema and obesity. Muscle fatigue brings pain, stiffness, and physical discomfort, loss of concentration, irritability and dizziness,” she adds.

The eyes
Dr Cillasy Tumwesigye, a consultant ophthalmologist at Opticals House on Luwum Street, says people complaining of eye problems have increased. But he was hesitant to link it directly to computers because no research has been done about it yet.
“The computer just worsens an already existing condition,” he said. “When you are long sighted, you get headache, fatigue and eye strain and in case your eyes are sensitive to light, the bright screen gives you eyestrain and discomfort untill you fit an anti glare screen on your computer.”

Exercise
Richard Kasiita, a senior physiotherapist in Mulago Hospital says, “instead of sitting down for long hours, get intervals to stretch the body, walk around. Use correct furniture design in the office. Go for aerobics or the gym after work.”
The various components of the workstation like the chair, work surface, monitor, should allow for adjustment to accommodate the needs of the operator.

Seat position
Adjustable chairs are the best; they enable you to sit for many hours without side effects.
“A good chair should allow the user to adjust the seat height and the tension of the backrest. The seat should angle forward slightly to keep you from cutting off your circulation and boost the benefits by providing footrests,” he says
Kasiita says elevating the feet slightly while typing or sitting at a desk reduces lower back strain, and improves circulation, keeping you more attentive. The best position, he says, is to sit upright and try to keep your hips, shoulders and ears in a straight line.
“Make sure that the computer (monitor, CPU systems, keyboard, mouse) is placed on a stable working surface (nothing that wobbles) with adequate room for proper arrangement,” he said. “Choose a system that is height-adjustable allowing you to tilt the keyboard down away from you to have your wrist in a more comfortable and neutral position.
“In case symptoms persist, consult a medical worker especially a doctor or a physiotherapist for help,” Kasiita advised.
Ends

Beat computer woes

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