Tip/Thought of the Day

Facial Injuries From Cell Phones On The Rise

As more people find themselves using a cell phone for almost every activity during the day, the number of cuts, bruises, even fractures due to cell phones are also on the rise. How are such injuries related to cell phones? Dr. Boris Paskhover of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School said his experience treating patients with cellphone injuries prompted him to look into the problem.

Paskhover and others analyzed 20 years of emergency room data and found an increase in cellphone injuries starting after 2006, around the time when the first smartphones were introduced.

Some injuries were caused by phones themselves, including people getting hit by a thrown phone. But Paskhover said many were caused by distracted use including texting while walking, tripping and landing face-down on the sidewalk.

This video highlights just how distracted people are when on their phones while walking:

Most people that experience injuries related to cell phones don’t experience harm severe enough to require hospitalization. Yes, some of the injuries could seemingly be prevented if people tuned into their surroundings, rather than burying their faces in a cell phone every waking moment. But, phone usage while driving, crossing a street, and other situations where attention should be paid has also led to serious, even deadly injuries.

According to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, the incidence of head injuries related to cell phones spiked around the year 2007, when the first iPhone was introduced. As phones have become more advanced, leading us to use them more throughout the day, the opportunities for injury have also increased as our attention span is honed in on the phone.

In addition to direct injuries (dropping the phone on your face while reading in bed, for example), and indirect injuries (like tripping while reading a text), studies have also shown that cell phone usage is associated with repetitive strain injuries in the hands, upper back, and neck. For every inch the head is tilted forward from a neutral position, the pressure placed on the spine doubles, which can pull it out of alignment. Over the long-term, the damage from constant strain could lead to inflammation and pain that no longer subsides when the phone is set down.

The takeaway? Set time limits for your phone usage to avoid physical strain on your back, neck, and hands. When out and about, stash your phone in your pocket or purse so you can focus on your surroundings. When driving, utilize the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode, which sends people that call or text you an automated message along the lines of “I”m driving now, I”ll get back to you in a bit”.

Cell phones are incredible inventions that have greatly improved ease of use of many functions, but if we are putting ourselves in danger while using them, is it really worth it? Using these simple tactics, you can avoid phone-related injuries and also keep those around you safe.






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