June 18, 2020
According to the American Optometric Association, 46 percent of Americans spend at least five hours a day on a computer or smartphone. When looking at a screen, many people hold their head forward of center and slouch, which puts many upper-body muscles in a shortened position.
Here are some ways to avoid pain and strain: Computer users tend to blink very little and stare straight ahead, not using their peripheral vision. Be sure to keep blinking, which washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears and breaks up your stare.
Take frequent rest breaks using the 20-20 Rule: every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something far away, preferably gazing out a window. Also, stand up and move as much a possible. This is a great time to do eye-muscle stretches and range-of-motion exercises for your back and neck. Use your fingertips to gently massage around your eyes, temples, and forehead. Finally, rub your palms together and gently cup your closed eyes. Relax and breathe freely.
Make sure you have good light, and check that your monitor is the correct distance away from your eyes and at the right height. Also, adjust the screen settings to where they are comfortable in terms of resolution and flicker.
If you wear eyeglasses, have them checked. For example, in order for some people to see clearly with their heads held in an upright and balanced position, and without chronic tightness in the back of the neck, they may need to have a prescription for a longer focal length or larger bifocal inserts, or have an adjustment of their eyeglass frames if they are bent or twisted. Some people may need a stronger or weaker prescription. If your doctor has prescribed a pair of glasses specifically for seeing the computer screen, wear them.
Mary Betts Sinclair is an Oregon-based educator and bodyworker. Learn more about her at www.marybettssinclair.com.
Handwashing for Your Health You know that washing your hands is important, but studies suggest that how you wash your hands is even more important. Washing frequently and thoroughly can help keep you, and the people you come in contact with, healthier.
Stay Clean, Stay Healthy Researchers in Denmark conducted a study in which students at one school were required to wash their hands three times a day. According to the study, which was published in the American Journal of Infection Control (August 2011), the children that learned new habits significantly reduced their amount of absences due to illness.
Hand Sanitizers vs. Soap? A study by the American College of
Preventive Medicine showed that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are less effective than soap at preventing outbreaks of norovirus in long-term care facilities. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers clean the skin by killing some bacteria, diseases, and germs on the skin's surface, but they don't actually remove dirt.
The CDC recommends using these sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and clean, running water are not available. Here is some more hand-washing advice from the CDC:
When Should You Wash Your Hands? -Before, during, and after preparing food and before eating -Before and after caring for someone who is sick -Before and after treating a cut
-After using the toilet or changing diapers -After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing -After touching an animal or animal waste -After touching garbage
What Is the Right Way to Wash Your Hands? -Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. -Rub your hands together to make lather, then scrub the entire hand. - Don't forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. -Continue for at least 20 seconds. -Rinse your hands well under running water. -Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.