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The dangers of cellphones

Cellphones: Are they dangerous?

Cellphones – A popular Internet joke tries to debunk the many conspiracy theorists by asking: “Is your cell phone dangerous?” The short answer is: “Yes, if you throw it at someone.” But, between talks of dangerous radiation, and your phone light damaging your eyes (and the ever-looming introduction of 5g Internet), you may want to take heed of some of the warnings about your favourite device. 

The thing is, most people spend a whopping 8 hours a day on their cellphones (or to be fair, looking at some sort of device). Between social media, the Internet and perhaps having a job that sees you online, or on your cellphone to conduct business, there has to be some sort of health-related issues as a result. 

Some warnings are perfectly understandable and offer advice over expected side effects of phone usage; then, there are others that warn you that your phone could literally explode. 

Cellphone Radiation

One of the more common warnings against excessive cellphone use is that the radiation from your phone and the towers that it gets its signals from can cause cancer. This is true; kind of. Studies on the connection between cellphone use and cancer have had mixed results, reports the American Cancer Society. 

But some studies have found a possible link. One such study comes from a research group in Sweden, which reported an increased risk of tumours on the side of the head where the phone is held.  

Cell Phones emit radiofrequency radiation (radio waves). A form of electromagnetic radiation. Cellphones emit non-ionizing radiation from their antennas. Parts of the body nearest to the antenna can absorb this energy, Cancer.gov explains. Constant exposure has been hypothesised in many experiments to affect health and cause cancerous growths. Many people who live in areas that have an active cell phone antenna have very publicly noted an increase in health problems. 

However, the scientific community is split on whether the results of these studies are conclusive enough to officially confirm a direct link.

Cellphone Burns

It sounds like a fictional problem, but many manufacturers have in fact had to recall certain batches of smartphones because of overheating. In the last five years, there have even been hundreds of reports from consumers about phones catching alight. This happens because of an error in the wiring and some people have been injured by a piping hot cellphone.

A major name in the electronics game was taken to court in 2017 for failing to recall faulty devices. These devices left several customers with various degrees of burns. One user actually succumbed to his injuries and died as a direct result of his phone exploding in his hand. 

Apparently, a common denominator with the people who experienced their cellphones catching alight is that it happened while the phone was plugged into the charger. Turns out, many people use their phones in bed, and place them under pillows or blankets while charging; which cuts off the airflow from the cooling vents built into the phone. Of course, this will result in overheating.

Terrible Posture from Cellphones

When you are using your phone, do you bring the phone up to your eye level, or do you catch yourself slouching for hours?

Yes, many people suffer from neck pain that is directly related to the posture taken when using cellphones. The slouching puts intense strain on your neck and spine!

Looking down at your smartphone while texting and browsing strain neck muscles and may lead to knots or spasms, says On Health. It may even lead to nerve pain that can spread to the back, shoulders, or down the arms. 

How do you combat this?

Stretching your muscles at regular intervals (much like one would do after using a laptop for long periods of time) can help stop the muscles from pulling stiff. Be strict on taking breaks from your phone. Also, be mindful of the way you are sitting when you are scrolling on your mobile device. Make a conscious effort to sit up straight and bring the phone up to eye level (or as close as possible). 

If you start experiencing tension headaches after prolonged use, you are putting too much strain of your neck, jaw and eyes. Many muscles are affected by incorrect posture. 

Proper smartphone ergonomics helps prevent injuries associated with smartphone use, a common public health consideration, the site continues. Do regular exercises to strengthen your neck and arm muscles.  There is also great pain relief in doing low-intensity workouts regularly, like yoga and Pilates.

Your cellphone is infested with germs!

Yes, apparently your cellphone is possibly dirtier than a toilet seat! In an article in Reader’s Digest, experts explain that a smartphone can have as many as 17,000 bacterial gene copies on it.  Think about it: your phone is permanently in your sweaty hands, on communal surfaces and even against your face! 

When you speak into the receiver, it catches saliva droplets.

“Your phone is exposed to everything you touch. What’s on your hands is on your phone. Healthcare experts stress that washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best defence against the spread of germs that cause sicknesses and viruses to spread,” shares Adriana Catinari, Product Manager at Whoosh!

Turns out that you should be washing and sanitising your phone on a regular basis. Of course, we don’t mean that you should immerse your electronics in water, but wash a clean cloth with some antibacterial soap and wring it out properly. Use the cloth to wipe down each side of your phone, taking care to get between the grooves, and over both the speaker and receiver. 

Sidebar; the germs on your phone can make you ill and also cause acne and blackheads on the side of your face.

Stay healthy by choosing health insurance that will be there for all your medical needs. 

Affinity Health has a day-to-day cover, a hospital plan and even a combined plan to meet your family’s needs. But even more impressive is the ability to mix and match and find a plan for each family member!

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