Cell Phone-Related Injuries on the Rise
Over a 20-year period, more than 2,500 cellphone users visited the emergency room with head or neck injuries, according to a study recently published in JAMA Otolaryngology- Head & Neck Surgery.
The study looked for cell phone-related injuries to the head and neck listed in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from approximately 100 US hospitals. According to NBC News, from January 1998 to December 2017, 2,501 patients sought help for these types of issues. The researchers noticed an initial increase in these types of injuries in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. Another major peak emerged in 2016. Other trends the study identified include that cellphone users age 13-29 made up 40% of these patients, with a third of cases involving the patient’s head; another third affecting the face, including eyelids, the eye area and nose; and about 12% involved the neck.
While most cases were mild, some involved facial lacerations and traumatic brain injuries. “I don’t think people are aware of how fragile we are as humans,” Dr. Boris Paskhover, a reconstructive surgeon and the lead author of the paper said. “We’re resilient, but we’re also fragile. You fall and you can get a pretty bad injury.”
Previous studies found that “distracted walking” injuries have been on the rise, but this study is believed to be the first to investigate the role smartphones play in injuries to these specific body parts.
“You walk in the city and you see everyone just looking at their phones,” Paskhover said. “Be aware that you can hurt yourself.”