Mobile curfew answer to new phone hazards

Mobile curfew answer to new phone hazards

Now it may not be enough if you just keep mobile phones away from your pocket, switched off while sleeping or choose a residence far from a mobile tower. Excessive use of cell phones, and in particular smart phones, can actually harm your elbow, palm, thumbs, as well as distort your face.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, doctors suggest regular electronic curfews and holidays if the threats are to be minimised. They advise not using cell phones at least 30 minutes before sleep and limiting talking over the phone to less than two hours per day.

“Blackberry thumb” is the latest scare which threatens mostly the youth. “Overuse of the thumb to operate a mobile device leads to the Blackberry thumb. Unlike the other four fingers, the thumb lacks dexterity,” said Dr Sanjay Gupta, a senior orthopaedic surgeon at Moolchand Medicity.

Also known as “wiitis” and “nintendinitis”, Blackberry thumb damages tendons in the thumb, thus affecting even the palm and the wrist, causing weakness in hand, burning sensation and throbbing pain. “If care is not taken, soon surgeries would be required to correct the problems,” Dr Gupta added.

The position of holding a phone while speaking greatly affects the nerves in the elbow as it stretches the nerves causing considerable damage.

However, it is the face which stands to bear maximum damage. A ‘saggy face’ develops from the angles at which people use their phones. “Leaning the head to hold the phone in between the face and shoulder causes facial skin and muscles to lose their elasticity quicker than normal,” said Dr Gupta.

Doctors also warn of terrible withdrawal symptoms when  people do not have access to their phones.

It is very similar to withdrawal symptoms experienced by people who try to quit cigarettes or alcohol.  “Though these symptoms are seen across all age groups of mobile users, teenagers in particular show signs of extreme aggressiveness, hostility and defiance during such times,” said Dr J Nagpal, senior psychiatrist.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) also said that it has suggested nurses in hospitals to not carry smartphones in operation theatres. “Twenty per cent phones are found to be carrying infections which include bacterial as well as fungii. Allowing phones inside OTs pose hygiene hazards,” said Dr Narendra Saini, secretary general of Indian Medical Association.

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