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Essentials for Healthy Living: Using Laptops with Care and Caution

Submitted by on September 20, 2013 – 8:18 PM

Lap-topAs Albert Einstein truly said, it has become appallingly obvious that technology has exceeded our humanity. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The advancement of technology has led to the creation of ideal gadgets including laptop —a perfect tool that affords to hold the world between the hands. It brings back a more seamless kind of learning for every individual whether a student, businessman, working woman or any other person.

 

Nowadays, its use has become very common in this digital era of technology. But on the other hand its excessive use especially on the lap, has thrown young people into a number of health risks.

 

Laptops pose an invisible threat to an individual’s life if not used cautiously. Lower frequency Electromagnet Radiations (EMR), High radio frequency radiation (RF) and heat radiations are emitted continuously from a laptop while it is in use. When a laptop is connected to use Bluetooth, WI-Fi and other wireless cellular connections it emits even higher frequency radiations. Laptops have fans that exhaust hot air and can greatly increase the temperature up 110 0 F or 700C . These fans keep the operating temperature stable inside the computer ensuring proper performance when heat is generated.

 

Laptops are directly exposed on our laps which are very close to the skin, muscles and especially to genital organs. These radiations cause “ Toasted Skin Syndrome” (a permanent discolouration of skin which may lead to skin cancer if chronic in nature). Researches show that Toasted Skin Syndrome has occurred in workers whose job requires working closer to a heat source including bakers and glass blowers or when people stay around fires and electric heaters to keep themselves warm. The skin develops a patch which is mottled (caused by local hemostasis – stagnation of blood) and later becomes reticulated erythema (patchy striped erythema) leaving behind pigmentation.

 

When you are young and healthy, it never occurs to you that in a single second your whole life could change. Following case was reported in American Journal of Pedriatics 2010 which stated: A 12 year old developed sponge- patterned skin discolouration on his left thigh after spending hours with his laptop on his lap playing video games for several months. He recognized that laptop heats up on the left side, however, regardless of that he did not change his position. Another CBC report, October 4th, 2010 by David Freeman stated about Scrotal hyperthermia – (elevated temperature in testicles) is the other danger linked with the excessive use of laptops in sitting position with closed legs.

 

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) on June 13th, 2009 reported, “ while fatherhood might be far from the minds of many young men, behavior pattern they establish early may have an impact on their ability to become a father later in life. Males should be reminded to take care of their reproductive health.”

 

Recent researches reveal that about 150 million people use laptops worldwide. Their usage in males is 40% more in comparison to that of females. The specific position on the lap is close to the scrotum in males. The scrotum comprises of sperms which require cooler temperature for survival.

 

Laptops produces heat which increases the temperature and normal spermatogenesis is affected, killing sperms and leading to male infertility. Lastly, using a laptop balanced on the lap can inevitably leads to poor posture as the back and shoulders are bend in order to use the keyboard and to see the screen. This can cause pain in the back, neck, shoulders and arms. It also causes strain on the eyes if it is used for a longer period of time. Thus spending too much time in awkward postures can cause serious long-term problems.

 

No doubt technology is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. Technology, when misused, poisons lives as well. But a world without technology would be prey to something worse.

Hence being aware of the above mentioned facts, it is recommended not to use lap top computers on lap instead a hard surface such as a desk, wooden table or books would be the best option to use. Renowned companies are working towards renaming this digital device in order to prevent customers from improper usage. Nowadays devices like Defender Pad are being introduced which reduce and eliminates laptop radiation dangers. Use of laptop desk or laptop cooler is another option to use laptop cautiously as to minimize the health risk. A healthy attitude is contagious so don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

About the Author: Shamsa Hadi is a second year student of Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Aga Khan University, Pakistan, Her areas of interest are global and public health management.She can be reached [email protected]

About this article: This article is competing for the JPMS International Medical Writing Contest 2013

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