How to avoid work-related illnesses

Some of our working days can become can easily turn into hell due to work-related health problems.

Some of our working days can become can easily turn into hell due to work-related health problems.

Physicians and workers normally blame this on fatigue. Headache, back pain and eyes strain are some of the results, and they can become progressively serious.

Fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation. It can be a normal and important response to physical exertion, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep.

However, it can also be a non-specific sign of a more serious psychological or physical disorder. When fatigue is not relieved by enough sleep, good nutrition, or a low-stress environment, it should be evaluated by a doctor. Because fatigue is a common complaint, sometimes a potentially serious cause may be overlooked.

Use of computers

"Blurred vision, watering eyes and headache may be caused by eye strain of poor lighting or glare from a computer screen. It is not your eyes you are straining but the muscles around them, which are used for squinting, blinking, or reacting to a glare or deem light," says James Hakizimana, a medical assistant at Kanombe Military Hospital

He added that intense light on a computer screen is dangerous and it therefore puts the user at risk of developing eye problems. Brightness of the computer screen should be adjusted so as to protect your health.

"It’s important for one to rest the eyes regularly by taking a five-minute break at least once an hour, and changing the focus of your eyes from close to long range by looking up and focusing on a distant object," said Hakizimana.

There is also a need to use an anti-glare screen. Computer users should always avoid focusing too closely to the computer so as to read or write in ‘a good light’. On the other hand, people with eye problems and who use computers often, need to visit an eye care specialist, because in most cases they need corrective lenses or a change in their current lens prescription.

Dr Gasana Michel, the Coordinator of the National Programme of Tuberculosis, said that work without rest may lead to certain illnesses which affect the worker from attending to his or her daily responsibilities effectively. It is also said that office work is usually unsafe, because it puts the worker at risk from suffering illnesses like back pain.

Cell phone users

Telephone users are not any better off because it is feared that their frequent use of phones might cause them some health complications.

According to critics of the cell phone revolution, frequent use of phones can lead to dizziness, nausea and headaches and other serious ailments.

However, to avoid this, Brain Kayitare, a pharmacist, says one can alternate the ear you use to answer the phone cell or use head sets. He also advises exercising one’s neck muscles every so often while working.

Carrying loads

Strain injuries, carrying heavy loads on head, shoulder or doing any kind of repetitive movements restricts blood flow causing pain and swelling.

To void this, make sure you sit correctly. Try to vary your tasks and take regular breaks at work. Stand up, stretch, and move around, at least in alignment with your body so that there is less strain on your muscles. Beware of early warning signs like pain, tingling, or numbness in the joints and muscles.

Back pain: low back pain is a very common complaint and oftentimes this is related to your job. It may be due to sitting for a long time while working, and especially on a bad chair. Therefore, to avoid this, one should move around at least once an hour. Try to sit upright and keep your back straight.

In the case of headache, this can be severe enough to disrupt daily activities. The headache involves the neck work of nerve fibers in the tissues, muscles and blood vessels located in the head at the base of the skull. It can be caused by work-related stress, depression or posture, changes that cause the muscular tension.

Eye strain due to an era of the eyes like short or long sightedness can also cause headache. Reduce stress at work by being organised and planning ahead. Do not procrastinate; putting things off for later can be stressful.

Always take a lunch break for at least 15 minutes. Get enough sleep, use only mind pain killers and do not exceed the maximum recommended dosage. Get your eye sight checked because you may need glasses, and be sure to see your doctor if you do not get better.

Faidah Mukasine, of Standard Pharmacy, Remera, says dry eyes, skin, mouth, constipation and headache and yellow urine are all signs of dehydration. So, the person is advised to take enough fluids, in order to heal it.

Varicose veins: These are unsightly and uncomfortable; they bugle, throb and feel heavy, making the legs and feet swell. The skin can also itch; you will get tired, itching legs and cramping pain can also form in veins. To avoid this, avoid sitting with legs crossed when sitting for a long period of time.

"Walk whenever possible; contracting leg muscles act as an artificial heart and help to push the blood up through the veins. Exercise to strengthen these muscles; raise your legs to encourage good blood flow after work," says James Twagira, a medical student at Butare University.

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