Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Computers - The Health Risks

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – There's no question that computers have become an essential part of the modern times. Anyone can hardly do without using a computer these days. Computers have taken over many tasks that used to be done manually.

And many things get done quicker and better with computers - at "just a click of the mouse," as the popular phrase goes. Information is available in a snap. Also, instead of going out for leisure, fun can now be found on LED monitors.

But there's a "flipside of the coin," so to speak. Computers can pose  serious hazards. Habitual computer use can be addictive, especially among young people. And prolonged exposure to computers can cause harmful radiation.

A year ago, the death of a 32-year old Taiwanese man disturbed the online gaming community. Reports said that Mr. Hsieh was found dead inside an internet café after having a non-stop gaming marathon for three days. Police investigation found out that Mr. Hsieh died of cardiac failure, which was caused by exhaustion due to gaming and the cold temperature inside the café.

The case followed the death of another Taiwanese man, 38-year old, in Taipei in 2012. The corpse was left unnoticed for 10 hours inside the internet shop before it was discovered. It was known that the man was playing computer games for five straight days immediately prior to his death.

It is not stated if these two victims had suffered from illnesses that directly caused their deaths. But there seems to be a pattern of extensive computer engagement immediately before their deaths. Experts suspect that it might have been the result of physical exhaustion made worse by computer radiation.

Frequent exposure to computer-screen radiation brings on such symptoms as blurred vision, headaches, tiredness, sleep disturbances, concentration and memory disorders, and dizziness. Skin disorders have also been noticed, like itchiness and burning or flushing sensations on the face. There have also been cases of uncomfortable, dry or swollen mucous membranes in the throat, ears, and sinuses, muscle pains and palpitations.

These are symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). Pain and discomfort are felt even on lower doses of radiation, meaning a few minutes of exposure to computers can cause a serious problem. EHS is affecting a small percentage (3 percent of the American population) of computer users, but its prevalence is likely to increase with the expected rise in computer use.

Computers generate both low-frequency and radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation.  These health threats come from both thermal and low-energy non-ionizing radiation. The World Health Organization considers radiations as potential carcinogens: substances which can cause cancer.

Computer radiations can also cause infertility, both in males and females. Exposure to electromagnetic fields creating the radioactive waves can cause lower sperm count and DNA fragmentation or irreversible changes on the genetic code. It can also trigger other serious health conditions like asthma, Alzheimer's disease, depression, heart disease, hormonal imbalance, and damage to nerves or the immune system. These effects are not only caused by personal computers or PCs, but also by laptops, tablets, cell phones, etc.

Limiting computer use can help in mitigating related health risks, especially in those who are showing symptoms of radiation. As with everything, moderation is key.

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