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The Hazards of IT Expand / Collapse
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2007 11:26 AM

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Post #368025
Posted Sunday, July 1, 2007 9:54 PM
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While the physical issue related to IT are well covered, what is not covered is 'stress.' I believe IT is one of the most stressful occupations you can have. I realize the sales guys down the hall get stressed when they lose a sell; however, I've never seen them working at 12:00 midnight on a Sunday because a server crashed on a backup routine or trying to meet a deadline on a 'death march' project.
Post #378103
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 12:17 AM



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Concur... mouse movements at 2AM are much more harmful to the mind than the body... I'd really like to see an article about being in the expert in the hot seat all the time and how to deal with it rather than a simple regurgitation of what most people already know about keyboard height and other simple ergonomic faults.  If it doesn't feel good, change it...  We all know that. 

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Post #378127
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 6:57 AM

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Another great health resource is Dr. Joseph Mercola. His articles often read like something from Dr. Phil and he does sell products on his web sites; however, nearly every blog post has a place for comments and discussion and there are sometimes dissenting opinions (that don't get deleted). There is a huge volume of information on the site and I always skim through the comments to get all sides of the story. Dr. Mercola also references the research that his opinions are based on in most cases; in the rare instances that research isn't noted I just try to use good judgment or talk to my doctor depending on the risk involved. A vast majority of the articles are about proper diet and nutrition and this is probably the most important factor in a person's health.

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Post #378203
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 7:01 AM


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I'd like to add another recommendation for dealing with repetitive stress if you're a programmer: the Dvorak keyboard layout. Around 2002 I noticed tingling in my wrists and hands and immediately thought about the specter of carpal tunnel syndrome. Since I was already using an ergonomic split keyboard and a gel mouse rest I had to think of something else.

From reading on the Dvorak layout I discovered that it's designed to minimize stress on the hands. Like the most used letters in the English language are placed on the home row so your fingers don't have to travel as far compared to the Qwerty layout, vowels are all placed next to each other on the left side of the home row, even the position of letters used in common combinations are placed together. For instance, the t key is placed to the right of the h key so you can just roll your fingers to type the "th" combination. Anyway, it took me about a week to get proficient in it and a month to regain my Qwerty typing speed and the tingling in my hands has not come back. I actually used a typing games program to speed up the proficiency process. I highly recommend checking out this layout.

Post #378205
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 8:28 AM
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I learnt to play the piano at the age of 5 and one of the first things they teach is how to hold your hands and wrists.

So far I have never had any problems with repetitive strain injury when using a computer keyboard and I put that down to using the same technique on the computer keyboard to the one I use on the piano keyboard.

If you start to get joint pains relating to computer keyboards and it isn't posture related cut down on the tea/coffee intake. Try taking glucosamine supplements. They do take an affect.

For 10 years I used to cycle to work whenever the weather permitted. I found that my stress levels were far lower while I was doing this even though my job at the time was far more stressful than it is today.

I would seriously recommend taking up some for of excercise to combat stress, even if it is just walking. Don't go to one of those overpriced testosterone filled gyms, they are not stress free! The oestragen filled ones are even worse, particularly when trying to cope with a mid-life crisis

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Post #378252
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 8:32 AM



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Here are two more common-sense suggestions:

1. Don't forget to take a break every so often. It's easy to get so deep into a project, the adrenaline starts flowing, and you lose track of time. You don't even realize how tight your muscles are until you finally stop.

2. Type gently. I knew somebody who would pound on the keyboard as if they were sitting at an old manual typewriter, and they eventually needed the carpal tunnel release surgery on both hands.

Post #378255
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 9:38 AM



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And enjoy yourself!!!

Have fun, joke with friends and co-workers, smile, take "fun breaks", run to Dairy Queen/Starbucks/Jamba Juice, keep a football around and throw it with a friend for 5 minutes.

On the nutrician side, I'd highly recommend the Body for Life diet. It works great.

Most of all, remember there are more important things than computers.

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Post #378274
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 10:16 AM
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How to resist stress and prevent a strok?
Post #378298
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 12:42 PM

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Everybody in my office thinks it strange that my monitor sits on top of and old access point enclosure.  It raises the monitor so that I look right at it rather than down at it.  I have two heriated disks in my neck now and the deflection angle on the MRI (yes I do know how to read an MRI) shows that it is from holding my head down for too many years.  You laptop drivers should take warning.

My hands were messed up in a forklift mishap before I made computers my full time work.  I don't have the problems as mst because I had to learn to type differently.  I'm on an every 6 month schedule with the eye doctor for exams because I'm a computer dude that is diabetic.

As for the blink rate:  There is a gal at church that is a psychologist.  She kept avoiding me.  OK, not for the usual reasons.  When somebody told me that she had her own psych practice it clicked.  It's my low blink rate.  I'm much below 15.  (Ah ha. she must think that I'm ...)  I cornered her and asked if she did a practicum in abnormal psychology.  When she said that she had I reassured her that I'm not psychotic  Low blink rate is a symptom.  Probably why our lot does so poorly in bars.  Low light and alchohol acentuate the low blink rate.  Makes one look weirder than usual.  We need a sign that says "Think Blink".


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