More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Is work a pain? 5 fixes for occupational ills: Desk jockeys battle aches, bad air and superbugs
Aug 31, 2007

Driving a desk all day
Occupational hazard: Deep-vein thrombosis

A Medical Institute of New Zealand study determined that 34 percent of people who suffered clots in their legs or lungs spent their days seated. Sitting keeps your muscles from massaging your veins, decreasing bloodflow, which can cause clotting.

Fix it: Take a lap around the office every 2 hours. A University of Illinois report revealed that taking walks boosts brainpower. You could also end up with a date, or information that could help your career.

Hectic travel schedule
Occupational Hazard: Depression

In a review of more than 500 studies on flying published in The Lancet, frequent travelers were more prone to psychotic episodes and mood disorders. ?Traveling messes up your internal clock,? says psychologist Jonathan Bricker, Ph.D. ?Compounded by social isolation and culture adjustments, that can worsen depression.

Fix it: Perform 30 minutes of cardio before and after the flight. Exercise cuts depressive symptoms in half, says a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Women at work
Occupational hazard: Superbugs

Researchers at Arizona State University found that women?s desks had twice as much bacteria as men?s and that one in 15 of all desks are a breeding ground for the superbug MRSA. ?Simply touching a desk tainted with MRSA can cause infection,? says lead author Charles Gerba, Ph.D.

Fix it: Clean and disinfect your phone, keyboard, and desk weekly. It?ll kill 99.9 percent of bacteria. Bonus: A tidy desk sharpens your rep.

The air around you
Occupational Hazard: Asthma

Health-care professionals in a Spanish study were at increased risk of asthma due to aerosol meds and powder on latex gloves. And the dust and mold in many offices can also cause asthma, says Jonathan Parsons, M.D., an assistant professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University.

Fix it: Keep your office dust-free, and make sure the ventilation system isn?t blocked or broken.

Gabbing on the phone
Occupational hazard: Shoulder pain

Sore shoulders plagued 46 percent of office workers in a study published in the European Spine Journal. ?Pain at the base of your neck means you lean in to read your screen; pain on the side of your neck means you lean your head to hold the phone,? says Cornell researcher Alan Hedge, Ph.D.
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