Maintain health by managing your digital devices safely.

Lunch Hour Lesson #38

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I know it’s a bit cliche to start with a definition, but I think it applies well in this case. Hygiene is defined as, “conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness”.

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In most applications of hygiene, I do mostly think about it in terms of cleanliness. Like brushing our teeth, taking a shower, and other rituals that we do to take care of ourselves and make sure that we remain presentably acceptable to others.

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But, I find it interesting that that part of the definition, the cleanliness part, is more of an added detail. The primary concept is that hygiene is a set of practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease.

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In this way of thinking about hygiene, the applications are much broader than just cleanliness. We could practice good hygiene in the home, for example, by fixing appliances when they break, taking out the trash regularly, folding laundry, washing dishes. Or althletic hygiene, where we make sure to move with correct posture to prevent injury, and drink enough water to stay hydrated.

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Today I’d like to talk about good digital hygiene, or, how we can use our electronic devices in ways that are conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease.

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There are many advantages to our electronics in terms of promoting health, from apps that help us track our food intake, to those that lead us in guided meditation, to others that let us know how many steps we’ve walked that day.

But, these same devices also can bring with them aspects that detract from health, and I want to find a way to get the best of both worlds.

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You may or may not be concerned about the ionizing radiation from your cell phone and its connection with adverse health effects. There still are no conclusive studies as to whether the radiation affects humans in a negative way.

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This makes me think of these electrosensitive people like canaries in the coal mine, perhaps serving as a warning for those of us who aren’t sensitive enough to feel the effects of this radiation on our bodies. Who knows if over time the rest of us will feel cumulative effects? We just don’t know.

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My take on it is basically that using certain digital devices frequently and being exposed to the radiation that they emit can’t be the same as not using them. It has to have some effect. So, I try to practice good digital hygiene just in case the effect turns out to be negative. At the same time I try not to become fanatic about the whole issue.

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Here are some tips to help you err on the side of caution, if that’s something you’re interested in doing:

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Put your cell phone and other electronics on airplane mode if they are in the same room with you when you’re sleeping.

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Children are especially susceptible because they have thinner tissues and skulls than adults. Some studies show correlation between digital device usage and behavior issues like ADHD.

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Don’t wear your cell phone against your body all day, especially for women not in your bra! And for men not in your front pocket. Keep it in a briefcase or purse instead.

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When using the device, try to keep it off your body as much as possible. Instead, rest it on a table or against a stand. Download longer articles to read, then turn the device to airplane mode so you can avoid the constant data transmission.

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Don’t have long conversations with the phone held up to your head. Most phone speakers are pretty good now, or buy a simple bluetooth speaker.

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Especially don’t use your cell phone against your head in the car – when you use your phone in the car it is constantly pinging new cell towers as you drive along, to maintain connectivity, and this increases the radiation exposure significantly.

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If you use a laptop for work, consider purchasing an external monitor and keyboard so you’re not working with your hands resting on your laptop all day. Definitely don’t work with your laptop actually in your lap for any length of time.

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At home coose to put your mobile devices across the room where you can still hear them beep but they’re not right next to you all the time.

Have the idea that your device is a little bit radioactive 🙂 It’s not, but thinking about it that way helps to remind me about cautious use.

Lunch Hour Lesson #38: Good Digital Hygiene

Posted by Allison Mädl Nutritional Therapy and Education on Wednesday, July 31, 2019