This article is the second part of the discussion on Online Business Health and Safety, the first part of which was the article of 31st May, 2020 on this website, personalandglobalhealth.com
We shall look at the remaining body systems, and see how they can be negatively or positively impacted upon by an occupation in online business. As with the previous article, suggestions and advice will be offered on how to overcome challenges that can be encountered in relation to the body systems. Product links are provided at the end of this paragraph.
These body systems are the Respiratory System, the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), the Digestive System (otherwise called the Gastrointestinal Tract or GIT), the Urinary System, the Endocrine System and Metabolism, and the Skin and Other Connective Tissues.
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These are the products that can be bought online to help protect against the dangers discussed in this article:
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THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (THE LUNGS AND CONNECTED AIRWAYS)
In these organs, the big issue is Air Quality. It is important, while happily working at home or any place chosen for an online business, to attend to good circulation of air in the room(s). Poorly circulating air is hazardous to health for many reasons. The oxygen content becomes low, and carbon dioxide and other waste gases accumulate to abnormal levels. Even radioactive gases, which are normally found in minute quantities in the air, can build up significantly. Urban areas all over the world are besieged by ever rising pollution levels, but even if living and working in a rural area, care should still be taken to ensure the purity of inhaled air.
Attention should also be paid to humidity and temperature levels. Excesses of these, being either highs or lows, adversely affect the Respiratory System and encourage the proliferation of other agents that are themselves harmful to the airways, such as bacterias, molds, and the house dust mite. This is very important especially for people with lung disorders such as asthma and cystic fibrosis, and skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and rosacea.
Molds have to be eradicated. This is very important especially for people with allergies affecting the nose, the eyes and / or the lungs, or people with immune disorders affecting the Lungs. Some molds are actually deadly.
Working from home offers the opportunity for people with allergy to pollens and other airborne irritants, to avoid these precipitants of their symptoms on bad days, because they can stay indoors for as long as is necessary.
In times of the seasonal flu and the COVID-19 pandemic, online entrepreneurs can continue working in a safe environment. That is as long as they attend to the cleanliness of the indoor air and their work equipment. Frequently-touched surfaces like keyboards should regularly be cleaned thoroughly with a good quality alcohol-based sanitiser of at least 70% alcohol content.
In some instances, online entrepreneurs will be working in shared places like internet cafes. Extra precaution, such as face masks and / or shields (links provided above), hand sanitisers, influenza vaccination, ± gloves, is needed in such situations.
THE EAR, NOSE AND THROAT (ENT)
Again, the main concern here is the quality of air, and the control of inhaled allergens. About one in six people suffer from allergy of the nose (allergic rhinitis), and this proportion is increasing as a result of urbanisation and climate change.
Online entrepreneurship could however be beneficial compared to many other occupations where exposure to allergens of the inhaled type and others, is higher.
Kindly view this article for more information about allergies and inhaled irritants affecting the Lungs and the ENT.
There is a widely practiced use of earphones when working online, especially with smartphones. This is very common among young people because it is seen as being trendy within the past decade. The damage to hearing that earphones causes, was proved beyond doubt at the close of the Twentieth Century. Headphones are a better option albeit still not safe.
THE GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT (GIT)
This should never be forgotten! Being too busy online, and not attending to the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system, is not in the best interest of the overall and long-term health of the entrepreneur!
Not attending to a healthy, well-balanced diet is counterproductive. The mind and body need a good supply of nutrients, micronutrients and minerals to continue functioning optimally. A link for good supplementation is provided above.
Going without meals for long periods because one is chasing their online business targets, can harm the body physically. There are many online business owners who are of advanced age (over 70 years), and those taking diabetes medications. They are examples of people at risk of developing low blood sugar levels if fasted for too long. This condition, called hypoglycemia, can be life-threatening. Not eating regularly can, in a subset of people, cause ulceration of the upper GIT, which can be complicated by internal bleeding.
At the other extreme, online entrepreneurship could cause a problem of Overnutrition or the eating of lots of calorie rich, but nutrient deficient (“junk”) foods. This could be caused by easy access to food because one is at home and there is food all around, or because of time pressure, one is unable to plan and practice a healthy diet schedule. This unhealthy eating causes not only obesity, but metabolic derangements that are discussed further below.
Another condition that is not uncommon, and is usually tied up with anxiety, is the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Though not dangerous, it is irritating and debilitating.
As well as good food, adequate water needs to be taken regularly, every day. As a guide, a 70kg person needs a total of 3 litres of water per 24 hours (the 3 litres being a total of pure water and water in food and beverages).
Online work may not produce any noticeable sweat, but there is a lot of insensible water loss, especially in this era of global warming. Keeping busy online for hours on end, and not hydrating well, can bring about some of the diseases that are increasing with global temperatures. These diseases include kidney and gallbladder stones, and a tendency to form blood clots in various parts of the body.
THE URINARY SYSTEM
As mentioned above, the body needs good intake of, preferably, pure water. This helps to constantly flush the urinary system and keep it healthy.
A poor intake of water and thick body fluids, hurts the kidneys which can go into chronic or acute failure.
Regular voiding, no matter how busy one is, is important because stagnant urine in the body is a good medium for the proliferation of harmful microorganisms, resulting in urinary tract infections.
THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM AND METABOLISM
Our bodies have numerous endocrine glands that secrete hormones that regulate body functions, including our processing and storage of food. A grossly unhealthy online business work routine can cause havoc to this “orchestra” of glands.
As mentioned in the previous article, there can be a lot of stress and anxiety in online work. This can cause high levels of circulating stress hormones from the adrenal glands, such as adrenaline and cortisol. This is an unhealthy situation that causes hypertension, heart attacks, premature greying of the hair and ageing, a general catabolic or breakdown state, high blood sugar levels, and so on.
Because online entrepreneurs deal with the whole world and therefore with people in different time zones, sleeping patterns can be very haywire. This affects many glands such as the pineal, and an imbalance in various chemicals such as those of the nervous system.
Eating unhealthy diets as discussed above, can cause a derangement of blood sugar, lipids and other chemicals, as well as increasing harmful chemicals such as free radicals. High calorie and low nutrient foods should be minimised.
When there is time pressure, online entrepreneurs easily get into the habit of fast foods like fried eggs. Consuming more than 4 (four) egg yellows per week, pushes blood cholesterol to dangerous levels very quickly.
THE SKIN AND OTHER CONNECTIVE TISSUES
The skin is mentioned exclusively because it is the biggest organ in the body, and has many functions other than holding the body together. It is one of the first points of contact with a person, and has metabolic functions such as the conversion of the sun’s rays to Vitamin D.
The skin is a live organ. It has pores and glands. It needs to breathe and to perspire. Online entrepreneurs need to be aware of this, and give their skins a good dose of fresh air and exercise. Working online does protect entrepreneurs from harsh conditions such as ultraviolet radiation (the cause of skin cancer), but exposure to sunlight now and then is necessary to provide the body with Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency causes, among others, weak bones.
This concludes our 2-part discussion of the health and safety issues that affect Online Business practice, an occupation and service that employs tens of millions of people globally.
Some of the issues discussed above are obvious. Others are not so obvious, with some being completely obscure to many current and aspiring online entrepreneurs. It is hoped that this in-depth, but by no means exhaustive exploration of the subject, has been of help and can serve as a future reference. This can help to save the lives of thousands of online entrepreneurs annually, and enable them to continue providing a quality service to the billions of their customers, as well as growing the economies of themselves and their families, their countries and the world.