Head and neck injuries due to cellphone use increasing in U.S

Grant Boone
December 9, 2019

A new study has identified an upward trend in injuries associated with cell phone usage.

"Injuries from cellphone use have mainly been reported from incidences during driving, but other types of injuries have gone largely underreported", said study author Boris Paskhover from Rutgers University in the US.

According to the study, the number of cases had increased more in 2007 and 2016. iPhone was introduced in the U.S. in 2007 and Pokémon Go was launched in 2016.

Since they became a part of everyday life, smartphones have often been blamed for distracting people when they should be more focused on their immediate environment. Roughly one third of these injuries were sustained to the head area, while another one-third involved the face, including the eyes, eyelids and nose.

The study looked for cellphone-related injuries to the head and neck listed in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database that collects information about emergency room visits from about 100 US hospitals. But Paskhover said many were caused by distracted use, including texting while walking, tripping and landing face down on the sidewalk.

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Some accidents had been attributable to telephones themselves, together with individuals getting hit by a thrown cellphone. Scarring from facial lacerations can lead to anxiety and lower self-esteem, the study noted.

The authors found that teens and young adults between 13 and 29 years of age, as well as older adults, were more likely to report "user distraction" as the cause of their injuries, while children 13 years of age and younger were significantly more likely to "sustain direct mechanical injury from a cellphone".

Another quarter of patients suffered bruises and abrasions.

Still, most patients in the study were treated and released from the hospital, or released without any treatment required. However, internal organ injuries made up nearly a fifth of the cases, or 18%. "A fall from upright - you fall, you hit your head the wrong way, you get a traumatic brain injury".

"The findings suggest a need for education about the risks of cell phone use and distracted behaviour during other activities as well as driving and walking", Paskhover said. "Be self-aware. Answer a text message, fine, but you shouldn't be walking around reading articles on your phone". Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and YouTube, and stay on top of what's happening in the world around you, in real time.

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