April is Stress Awareness Month – Learn How to deal with Pressure

Stress Awareness Month

The feeling of emotional and physical tension which occurs due to an event or thought and makes you feel angry, nervous or frustrated is known as stress. Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life and this is considered quite normal. However, if it persists for a long time, stress can cause serious physical and mental health issues. That’s why it is very important to learn how to manage stress. April is observed as Stress Awareness Month to increase public awareness about the causes of stress and how to combat it.

Since 1992, Stress Awareness Month – designated by The Health Resource Network – has been an ongoing campaign of awareness and education. It is a national, cooperative effort that reminds us to pay attention to our health. This observance is aimed to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about the condition that are prevalent in society. Today, many Americans experience prolonged and elevated stress levels. According to the American Psychological Association, the significant sources of stress found in the lives of majority adults these days are due to the coronavirus pandemic (80%) and political unrest around the country (74%). To help people cope up with the situation, this year, healthcare professionals and health promotion experts across the country will join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic.

Handling stress can be different for everyone. There are different types of stress and techniques to manage the condition and some techniques might work for some people whereas they may not be effective for others. Finding and following the right technique can help you manage stress effectively. Here are some strategies that you can follow to keep stress at bay or to recover from the condition:

  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Lack of sleep is one of the major reasons for stress. Focus on getting a good night’s sleep – at least 6-8 hours is recommended. Sleep de-stresses and recharges your system.
  • Avoid Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Avoid or quit unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol, smoking and drugs. The stimulants in these mechanisms – like caffeine and nicotine – can actually aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks. Instead, drink lots of distilled water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fresh juices to keep yourself hydrated and cope with stress.
  • Exercise: Exercising not only keeps your body healthy, it is also a great stress reliever. Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Activities like taking a brisk walk in the fresh air, walking, swimming and yoga are some good options to de-stress.
  • Spend Time with Friends and Family: Having strong social relationships with friends and family may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety. Being part of a friend or family network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, and can help you in tough times. (healthline.com)
  • Try a Relaxation Technique: To clear the mind, body, and soul from stress and anxiety try various relaxation techniques such as meditation, tai chi, yoga, and deep breathing.
  • Eat Healthy: To cope with stress, you need to have a well-nourished body and for that you need to be mindful of what you eat. Eat balanced meals as they are important to keep your energy levels up and your mind clear throughout the day. Avoid caffeine and sugary foods and drinks.
  • Laugh: Several studies say that laughing releases “happiness hormones” which decreases cortisol and adrenaline levels, and reduces the level of stress hormones. Laughing also relieves tension by relaxing your muscles. Therefore, find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
  • Avoid the Stressors: Identify the sources of stress in your life and avoid or manage it. If it’s a person who stresses you out, try to limit the time you spend with that person. If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it or adapt to it.
  • Express your Feelings: Suppressing your feelings can cause resentment to build and elevate anxiety. So, be more assertive and communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way.
  • Appreciate Yourself: Do your best and be proud of your achievements.
  • Maintain a Positive Attitude: Try to focus on things that you can do well and make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. There are some things that you cannot change, so learn how to respond in the right way.

Follow these strategies and control your stress. However, even after following these tips your symptoms continue, consider seeking medical advice. A professional therapist can help you identify the sources of your stress and provide the right therapy to address it.

World Health Day 2021: Build a Fairer, Healthier World

World Health Day

World Health Day marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. Observed on April 7 each year, this day aims to create awareness about a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for WHO.

From the inception of World Health Day at the First Health Assembly in 1948 and since taking effect in 1950, WHO has brought to light important health issues such as mental health, maternal and child care, and climate change. For each World Health Day, a theme is selected that highlights a priority area of public health concern in the world. This year, it is COVID-19 and the theme for 2021 is “Building a fairer, healthier world”.

The day serves as an opportunity to focus worldwide attention on important aspects of global health. WHO notes that with COVID-19 pandemic, some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others, while some groups struggle to make ends meet with little daily income, poorer housing conditions and education, fewer employment opportunities, experience greater gender inequality, and have little or no access to safe environments, clean water and air, food security and health services. Such poor conditions lead to unnecessary suffering, avoidable illness, and premature deaths, which harms societies and economies.

To prevent such unfair conditions, WHO calls upon leaders and healthcare providers to ensure that everyone has living and working conditions that are conducive to good health, monitor health inequities, and make certain that all people are able to access quality health services when and where they need them.

COVID-19 has been harshest on those communities which were already vulnerable, who are more exposed to the disease and less likely to have access to quality health care services. This global campaign highlights WHO’s constitutional principle “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”.

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March 30 is “Take a Walk in a Park Day”

March 30

You may be working at home or busy with your daily routine. Here’s good news for you – there’s a day coming up to break the monotony. Each year, March 30 is observed as National Take a Walk in the Park Day to provide an opportunity for recreation and enjoy nature in the best way. The Day encourages everyone around the world to actively enjoy the physical and mental health benefits while walking in nature.

Take walk in the park, take a long fresh breath and relax! Walking is an activity that comes with tons of benefits –

  • Walking provides an opportunity to renew your mind and body by watching pleasant sights and hearing sounds of nature
  • It relieves stress and it’s an enjoyable way to add a little extra activity to any part of your day.
  • Unlike other workouts, walking does not have repetitions or a specific time requirement. You can walk for as long and intensely as you prefer.
  • Walking can support active recovery, gently warm up your muscles and help you stay active.
  • It strengthens your relationships as well as your body. You can choose to walk along with your friends or your family or take your pet with you on your walk.
  • When you walk in the park, you can breathe some fresh air and exercise and relax in a calm atmosphere.
  • Active walking helps increase heart activity, lower blood pressure, and boost mood.
  • It burns calories, helps reduce weight, and lowers the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers
  • Walking provides the opportunity to capture a beautiful photograph, compose an original poem, or have an uninterrupted conversation with your companion.

Above all, you will get an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature’s wonders – flowers, trees, birds, and wildlife. Celebrate Walk in the Park Day — wear your finest walking shoes and breathe in the fresh air. Visit your local park for a morning walk or go on a relaxing walk and spend some time with nature in the evening. Encourage your family members too to take a walk and enjoy the health benefits. Share your ideas via social media!

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World Tuberculosis Day is Observed on March 24 – ‘The Clock is Ticking’

Tuberculosis Day

A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes Tuberculosis (TB), a contagious infection that primarily affects the lungs. TB can also affect any part of the body like the brain and the spine. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and killed an estimated 1.4 million people in 2019. As TB is impacting populations around the world in large numbers, there is an urgent need to raise awareness about this infectious disease. Every year, March 24 is observed as as World Tuberculosis Day to raise public awareness about the distressing health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. This one-day annual event commemorates the discovery of the bacterium that causes TB – which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease – by Dr. Robert Koch in 1882.

This year the theme of World TB Day is ‘The Clock is Ticking’, which conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments made by global leaders to end TB. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

According to WHO, TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers because, each day, nearly 4000 lose their lives to this disease and close to 28,000 people fall ill with it. The disease spreads from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs, spits and sneezes. However, not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), if a person with TB infection has TB bacteria in the body, it’s not necessary that person carries a contagious form of TB disease. There are two TB-related conditions present: latent TB infection and active TB disease. If a person’s immune system is able to keep the infection in control, they would not feel sick, have no symptoms, and cannot spread TB to others. Such TB condition is latent TB infection. On the other hand, people with active TB disease feel sick, have symptoms and can spread TB to others. So, if left untreated, the condition cause severe complications and become fatal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), certain people are more likely to get sick from TB, such as those with HIV infection who have been recently infected with TB, those who inject illegal drugs, and those who were not treated correctly for TB in the past and so on. These people have conditions that make the body weak and it is difficult for them to fight TB germs.

Though TB can be fatal, in many cases, it is preventable and treatable. In fact, global efforts to combat TB saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000. If you are already infected and don’t want to be a reason for spreading the disease to others, take action:

  • Get an early diagnosis and treatment
  • Take all prescribed medicines as your doctor recommends
  • Stay away from other people until there is no longer a risk of infection
  • Wear a mask
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Ventilate rooms by using a fan or opening windows
  • Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing

These measures can help you avoid spreading the disease during your first few weeks of treatment, or until your doctor says you’re no longer contagious.

This year, on World TB Day, WHO calls on everyone to:

  • Reach the targets set in Sustainable Development Goals, WHO End TB Strategy, the Moscow Declaration to End TB and the political declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting on TB by accelerating the End TB Response.
  • In line with WHO’s overall drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the WHO Director General’s flagship initiative “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” jointly with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership, WHO is also planning to diagnose and treat 40 million people with TB by 2022.
  • Reach 30 million people with TB preventive treatment by 2022
  • Mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing to reach USD 13 billion a year to support efforts to end TB;
  • Invest in TB research to reach at least USD 2 billion a year for better science, better tools and better delivery.

Until TB is eliminated, World TB Day won’t be a celebration. The observance would serve as a valuable opportunity to educate the public about the devastation caused by TB and how it can be stopped.


March 20 is World Oral Health Day – Go all out to “Be Proud of Your Mouth”

World Oral Health Day

A healthy mouth is important for a healthy body. It is very important to pay attention to your oral health as the mouth is one of the main doorways for the virus that can cause COVID-19 and other infections such as the flu. Adopting a good oral hygiene routine and managing risk factors is important to protect yourself and others. World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is celebrated every year on March 20 to raise awareness about these matters.

The largest global awareness campaign on oral health, WOHD is organized by the FDI World Dental Federation. The major goal of WOHD is to spread the message about good oral hygiene practices to adults and children alike and demonstrate the importance of optimal oral health in maintaining general health and well-being. Each year, WOHD focuses on a specific theme to reach out to the public, oral health professionals, and policy makers. This year, the official theme of the campaign is “Be Proud of Your Mouth”. This will be the theme for the next three years.
WOHD focuses on a specific theme each year and reaches out to the public, oral health professionals and policymakers who all have a role in addressing the consequences of oral disease. This year’s theme sends out a simple but powerful message “value and take care of it.” The campaign seeks to inspire change by focusing on the importance of oral health for overall health because good oral health can help you live a longer, healthier life, and that is something worth taking action for (worldoralhealthday.org).

Oral disease affects almost all people at some point during their lifetime. This occurs mainly due to the poor oral health. Oral diseases such as gum disease can increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes, and more. Fortunately, most oral health diseases or conditions are preventable and can be treated in their early stages. Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene can reduce risk of gum disease, bad breath and tooth decay. It will also help you maintain good health as you get older.

FDI World Dental Federation has posted a fact sheet that discusses some effective tips you can adopt for practicing good oral health during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are:

  1. Practice a good oral hygiene routine:

    a. Before brushing your teeth make sure you wash your hands with soap and water.
    b. Use a fluoride toothpaste to brush for two minutes, twice a day.
    c. If brushing is not possible, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum after meals and snacks instead.
    d. Replace your toothbrush every three months, or immediately after you have been ill
    e. Avoid sharing personal items with people who are ill
    f. Floss at least once a day (never reuse floss and do not re-use interdental cleaners if you were ill).

  2. Eat a well-balanced, low-sugar diet: Sugar is the number one cause of tooth decay (dental caries). During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are affected by stress and uncertainty, which in turn has impacted their food preferences and increased intake of foods high in sugar. For oral health:

    a. Follow a well-balanced, low-sugar diet.
    b. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
    c. Adults should have no more than six teaspoons of sugar daily and, children three teaspoons.
    d. Do not eat sugary snacks and treats between meals
    e. Avoid sugary drinks, choose water as your main drink

  3. Take charge of your oral health

    a. Cut alcohol intake, as its acid and high sugar content can not only erode your teeth and cause tooth decay but also increase risk of several cancers, including cancers of the mouth, larynx, pharynx and oesophagus.
    b. Quit smoking. Tobacco in any form is unsafe. It increases risk of gum disease and oral cancer. It also causes teeth staining, bad breath, premature tooth loss, and loss of taste and smell.

  4. Consult your dentist: It’s important to get regular dental checkups. With the ongoing pandemic, this may be delayed. Call the dental practice and discuss whether you should postpone this appointment due to the crisis.

    a. If you go to the dentist, follow the rules established by the dental clinic.
    b. If possible, attend the appointment alone. Only children and dependants should be accompanied.
    c. Practice physical distancing when you are in the dental clinic.
    d. Depending on where you live, and if you need to visit the dentist, you must follow the national/ regional recommendations and contact the dentist for guidance if:

    • You have tested positive for COVID-19
    • You have COVID-19 symptoms (dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, headache)
    • You live with someone or were in contact with someone with COVID-19.

    e. Importantly, do not attempt to treat or relieve any dental problem by yourself.

  5. Protect yourself and others:

    a. Always remember the general rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19
    b. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
    c. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
    d. Wear a mask, where recommended
    e. Stay at home if your national or local policies require you to do so
    f. Practice physical distancing and stay at least 2 meters away from other people

With a proper oral hygiene routine, regular dental check-ups, and a healthy lifestyle, you can protect your mouth and body.

This FDI World Dental Federation allows people to show their support for the campaign by using an online #MouthProud custom poster tool. This tool allows to place an ornate art frame over their mouths-as a symbol that they recognize just how significant and important the mouth is-and make a personal commitment to prioritize their oral health. So, get ready to be #MouthProud!

This World Oral health Day, take a pledge to maintain a strong and healthy mouth and inspire others to do the same!

6 Tips to Avoid ‘Quarantine 15’ [INFOGRAPHIC]

“Quarantine 15” is the weight gain many people experienced when the pandemic-driven stay-at-home guidelines went into effect. The interruption in daily routine and habits and the stress and self-isolation brought on by the pandemic is believed to account for this weight gain. Boredom and stress have a powerful effect on appetite and cause people to overeat and eat even when they’re not hungry. Spending more time in the house to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19 has fueled snacking and comfort-eating. All these eating habits can cause weight gain and affect your health.

The good news is that you can reverse this trend and regain control by following a proper diet plan. Check out this infographic for tips to avoid a Quarantine 15:

Check out the infographic below

Quarantine 15

5 Top Exercises to Tune Up Your Body in Spring

Top Exercises

Spring is around the corner! The season heralds new hope and spending time outdoors can be a big stress reliever after the long winter and stay-a-home restrictions imposed by COVID-19 pandemic. Spring is the best time for a body tune-up and doing the right exercises can help you shake off sluggishness and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Extreme summer and winter temperature can make routine exercises less comfortable. But Spring – with its warm temperature – is the ideal time to resume your exercise regimen. However, you need to find a workout routine that fits your busy schedule and fitness level.

Let’s check out five best exercises you can try in spring to stay fit and healthy:

  • Squat Jumps: To start off this workout, stand with your feet just outside shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Then jump up and land gently on the floor to a squatting position. Without stopping, jump up again and repeat the motion. Three sets of 20 squat jumps are recommended for optimal results.
  • Step-Ups: A step or platform of about 4-6 inches high is required for this workout. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and jump onto the step or platform. Then step backward to the starting position. Repeat the motion at least 15 times.
  • Burpees: Start in a squat position with your knees bent, back straight, and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the ground directly in front of you and then jump your feet back, transitioning to a plank position. Complete one push-up, jump back so that your feet land just outside of your hands, reach your arms over your head and jump up into the air so you land back where you started. Lastly, land with knees bent and immediately lower back into a squat position for your next rep.
  • Push-ups: Get on the floor on all fours. Position your hands shoulder-width apart, straighten your arms and legs, lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor and then push yourself back up. Repeat at least 15 times.
  • Lunges: Stand up tall and step forward with one foot until your leg reaches a 90-degree angle. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips and make sure that your back knee remains parallel to the ground and your front knee doesn’t go beyond your toes. Then lift your front lunging leg to return to the starting position. Repeat the motion at least 12 times for each leg.

For best results, perform all these moves back-to-back with little to no break in between. These exercises can spike your metabolism, burn fat, and help you to continue to burn calories even hours after your workout. Along with these exercises, make sure to support your body nutritionally too.

March Is Observed as Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Job-related eye injuries are getting more common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each day approximately 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of these injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments, and more than 100 result in one or more days away from work. During this COVID-19 pandemic, remote working has increased, which increases the risk of digital eye strain. March has been declared as Workplace Eye Wellness Month by Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest eye health and safety nonprofit organization.

During 2021 Workplace Eye Wellness Month, Prevent Blindness aims at raising awareness of digital eye strain and provides tips on ways to reduce the effects of increased screen time. Digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome (CVS) refers to a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged use of digital devices such as computer, tablet, e-reader, smartphone and others. Discomfort can increase with the amount of digital screen use. The most common symptoms associated with CVS are eyestrain, headache, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of digital eyestrain symptoms. These symptoms are mainly caused by poor lighting, glare on a digital screen, improper viewing distance, poor seating posture or uncorrected vision problems.

It is important to take regular eye examinations and follow proper viewing habits to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms associated with CVS.

Prevent Blindness provides certain tips to improve healthy vision at work, which include

  • Placing your screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and a little bit below eye level
  • Using a document holder next to the screen to avoid swinging your head back and forth or constantly changing eye focus
  • Changing the lighting to reduce glare and harsh reflections
  • Using an adjustable chair
  • Choosing screens that can tilt and swivel and an adjustable keyboard
  • Using computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light to ease digital eye strain by increasing contrast
  • Using anti-reflective lenses to reduce glare and increase contrast, and block blue light from digital devices

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends taking frequent breaks by using the “20-20-20” rule, which means that every 20 minutes you have to look away from your screen and look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset and replenish themselves. AOA also recommends blinking frequently to minimize the chances of developing dry eye when using a computer. Blinking keeps the front surface of the eye moist.

Workers in other settings such as construction or manufacturing can consider using safety eyewear protection such as non-prescription and prescription safety glasses, goggles, face shields, welding helmets and full-face respirators. This helps to protect the eyes and face against any chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants and hazards.

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?


Water is an important nutrient and necessary for all forms of life to sustain. The body loses its water throughout the day, mostly through urine and sweat and from regular functions like breathing. To prevent dehydration (losing more fluids than you are taking in), you should drink plenty of water every day. One common question people ask is: how much water you should drink a day? According to Mayo Clinic, this is a simple question with no easy answer.

Over the years, studies have come out with various recommendations on how much water a person should drink every day. Your individual water requirements actually depend on many factors. No single formula fits everyone, but knowing how much it is essential for your body to stay hydrated can help you estimate how much water to drink per day.

Is Drinking Water is the Only Way to Stay Hydrated?

All kinds of liquids help you stay hydrated, but the best option is water. It is almost free (if you are drinking tap water) and has no sugar or calories. The general recommendation is daily eight-or-so cups of water per day. However, most people who are healthy will get adequate fluid through the beverages they consume every day.

Experts says that, unlike it is normally believed, drinking tea or coffee will not cause dehydration. Healthy people who drink coffee in moderation don’t lose more fluid than people who don’t have any caffeine. Experts recommend restricting caffeine intake to 400 milligrams a day – about 250 ml or three cups of black coffee or four cups or 250 ml of black tea. Coffee or tea together with water-rich foods can help maintain your fluid balance.

Foods That Can Help You Stay Hyrdrated

Your body gets water from not only drinking water, but also through certain foods. Surveys suggest that around 20% of water intake comes from foodstuffs and the remaining from fluids. Foods like watermelon, apples, and oranges, lettuce, carrots, cooked broccoli, chicken breasts, salmon, etc. are foods with water content.

How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?

Drinking 8 cups of water daily is a reasonable goal and easy to rememeber. For some people, less than that will be enough, but others might need more. Drinking a lot of water can benefit people with specific health conditions such as thyroid disease, and kidney, liver, or heart problems, or those taking medications that make you retain water. The amount of water intake also changes with other factors. For instance, you need to drink more water than usual if you:

  • Are sick – have flu or a urinary infection
  • Exercise intensely, specifically in a hot climate
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

The adequate amount of fluid intake determined by The U.S National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a healthy adult living in a temperature climate need is:

  • For men, about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids per day.
  • For women, about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids per day.

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other food, and beverages. Nearly 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the remaining from drinks.

How Will You Know if Your Water Intake is Enough?

Your fluid intake is likely enough if:

  • You rarely feel thirsty
  • Your urine is light yellow or colorless

Consulting your doctor or dietician can help you find out the adequate amount of water that you should drink every day. To prevent dehydration and ensure your body has the required fluids, you should make water your beverage of choice. It is good if you drink a glass of water:

  • Before and after exercise
  • When you feel thirsty
  • With each meal and between meals

Some Easy Ways to Drink more Water During the Day

  • When you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water before having tea or coffee.
  • If you have a desk job, keep a bottle of water handy and take several sips each hour. If you are on the go, carry water with you and take sips throughout the day.
  • If you get bored of drinking plain water, add a dash of lemon to it.

Are You Drinking Too Much Water

Some experts have raised concerns that drinking too much water could be dangerous. To maintain your health and life, the balance of minerals is important – not only the amount of fluid in your body. Too much water could lead to hyponatremia or water intoxication when sodium levels in the blood plasma come too low. Symptoms include:

  • Brain swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Headache
  • Lung congestion
  • Death

People who drink too much water when they are exercising also could be at risk. Having specific diseases or using some medications are other risk factors. For instance, diabetes can lead to excessive thirst. However, the body can adapt to higher or lower water levels. If you need to drink more, your body can remind you through thirst. Likewise, scientists believe an internal mechanism can make you stop drinking too much water.

There is no one size fits all answer – the amount of water you need to drink water depends how healthy you are, specific health issues you may have, how much you exercise, and how hot and cold the climate is. The general rule is to make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking water whenever you feel thirsty and drink more than usual during high heat and exercise to compensate for the loss of water from your body.

8 Simple but Effective Eye-Relaxing Tips for Computer Users

Eye-Relaxing Tips

Looking at a computer, smartphone or any other digital screen for long periods of time can be tough on your eyes and lead to eye strain. The ongoing pandemic has increased the screen time. According to an Eyesafe Nielsen report, the average screen time per person rose 60%, to more than 13 hours a day, in March 2020 (cbsnews.com). Increased screen time can have a negative impact on the eyes and cause eye strain.

If you spend long hours a day using digital devices, you probably would notice some uncomfortable effects such as vision blurs, and eyes feeling achy, dry and tired. This is referred to as computer or digital-related eye strain by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Eye strain can affect people of all ages and has same symptoms that you may have when reading, writing or doing any “close work” like sewing for long stretches of time.

So, do we have to cut back on our screen time?

Not necessarily, but we may need to make few changes while using screens. Normally, people blink about 15-20 times a minute, which keeps the eyes from getting dry and irritated. Blinking tears are spread evenly over your eyes. Researchers have found that people blink less than half as often when they’re reading, watching, or playing on a screen. Other factors such as the contrast of text against the background, the glare, and flickering from digital screens can also strain the eyes.

Here are some eye-relaxing tips that you need to adopt if you are spending too much time on a digital screen or doing any other close work that requires long staring.

  1. Blink Your Eyes Often: The blink rate of humans is normally 15 times a minute. However, certain studies show that it decreases by about 50% to maybe 5 to 7 blinks a minute when using computers and other digital devices. To overcome the strain this can have on your eyes, blink them more often while you use digital screens. This will help your eyes get the moisture they need on the surface and prevent dryness.
  2. Follow the “20-20-20” Rule: For the prevention and management of computer eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule – take regular breaks looking at something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen.
  3. Use a Matte Screen Filter: Today’s digital devices often have a lot of glare. To reduce the glare, use a matte screen filter. This filter is available for all types of computers, phones, and tablets.
  4. Take a Break Every 2 Hours: If you spend 2 hours on a digital screen, take a break of about 15 minutes after every 2 hours.
  5. Use Artificial Tears: Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
  6. Use a Humidifier: Consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air in a dry and warm room.
  7. Adjust Brightness and Contrast On Your Device: Adjusting screen brightness or the lighting in the room can reduce eye-strain. Make sure that your screen’s brightness matches the level of light around you and is not brighter than your surroundings.
  8. Adjust your Monitor: Make sure you position your monitor properly. The ideal position is about 25 inches or at arm’s length away from your face. The screen should be positioned in a way that your eyes gaze slightly downward, not straight ahead or up.

Symptoms of digital-related eye strain can also be alleviated by changing your workplace habits. If you wear a lens, then you might find dry eye an ongoing problem. Consider giving your eyes a break by wearing your glasses and don’t sleep in your contact lenses, even if they are labeled “extended wear” and follow good contact lens cleaning practices. Optometrists say that some people who use reading glasses may benefit from trying glasses with a different focal length for computer work (npr.org). Importantly, get your regular eye exam.

If you experience eye discomfort, headache or vision changes that don’t improve with these relaxing tips, consult your doctor.