5 Health Hazards(1)

Teaching is popularly considered to be one of the safest profession that one can take up. It requires minimal travel, has fixed hours of work, involves a hygienic and clean environment and very little physical strain. However, the profession is not completely free from work-related illnesses and trauma. Many health hazards troubling teachers seem to be stemming from:

  • their manner of working;
  • closed spaces of classrooms;
  • or the amount of mental pressure endured by them.

Since it is better to be wary than be sorry, here is my list of few prevalent health hazards that plague teachers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a compilation of physical and psychological issues that are most prevalent among teachers.

Voice Disorders

Source: http://pulmonaryfibrosismd.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IPF-cough.jpg

Source: http://pulmonaryfibrosismd.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IPF-cough.jpg

It is common knowledge that teachers have to make extensive use of their voice. Teachers need to make sure that their students can hear their instructions and lessons clearly. This puts a lot of strain on their voice. Research has shown that nearly 47% of America’s teachers suffer from voice-related problems. In worst cases, such health hazards have also lead to the end of a teacher’s career. Keeping these facts in mind, voice disorders are one of the most common and threatening health hazards for teachers. For more information on this disorder, read this on The John Hopkins Medicine website.

Speech and Language Disorder

Source: https://static.pexels.com/photos/46274/pexels-photo-46274.jpeg

Source: https://static.pexels.com/photos/46274/pexels-photo-46274.jpeg

Although this sounds similar to the previous topic, Speech and Language Disorder (or SLD) is quite a different problem. While voice disorders include respiratory infections and laryngeal cancer, SLD makes a person unable to remember the correct word or phrase to describe something. For example, instead of saying “book” a person with SLD might say “that thing you read”. Despite SLD being a common health hazard among teachers, an accurate reason for its occurrence is yet to be found. Nannette Stroebel, a music teacher from Harding, Minnesota, is of the mind that it is the constant need to multitask make teachers mentally exhausted and unable to focus properly.

If you want to know further about this disorder, here is the research on SLD did by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Viral Diseases

Source: http://i0.wp.com/kanecountyconnects.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/sick-fever-influenza-flu-adult.jpg

Source: http://i0.wp.com/kanecountyconnects.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/sick-fever-influenza-flu-adult.jpg

When you are around a roomful of people every day, it is easy to catch diseases, especially contagious ones. An assortment of diseases can spread in a classroom, ranging from common cold to chicken pox. As a matter of fact, in a research published in BMC Public Health, it was found that there was a lifetime prevalence of rhinopharyngitis and laryngitis in both male and female teachers. Male teachers are also prone to health hazards like conjunctivitis and lower urinary tract infection, while female teachers are more likely to contract eczema/dementia, bronchitis, and varicose veins.

The likelihood of such diseases makes it even more essential that teachers take extremely good care of their health and promote the benefits of proper hygiene to their students.

Stress Issues

Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Y_KPonl8Utc/ViZAFEQdIaI/AAAAAAAABPs/dr2AXuxs410/s1600/headache.jpg

Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Y_KPonl8Utc/ViZAFEQdIaI/AAAAAAAABPs/dr2AXuxs410/s1600/headache.jpg

A teacher not only instructs students but is also responsible for giving shape to their future. In this respect, teachers must not only teach, but also to motivate and inspire. As such, it is a very stressful situation to put oneself in on a daily basis.  Excessive levels of stress have been known to cause several health hazards in teachers, including headaches, panic attacks, depression, etc.

Violence

Source: http://www.clipartbest.com/cliparts/dc6/Myo/dc6Myogc9.jpeg

Source: http://www.clipartbest.com/cliparts/dc6/Myo/dc6Myogc9.jpeg

There have been many sad and unfortunate instances of violence in schools in the United States of America in the past few years. According to the American Psychological Association, around 7% of the teachers in the country are threatened with injury on an annual basis, with female teachers receiving twice as many threats as their male counterparts. In 2007, as a part of the Young Risk Behavior Surveillance, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that around 6% of the surveyed students confessed to carrying guns, knives, and other dangerous items during the period of the survey.

Teachers need to be more careful and observant regarding the behavior of their students, and how to be prepared for such situations.

To Round Things Off

Teaching is rightfully considered to be one of the noblest professions. But it is not free from its own pitfalls. Teachers need to keep in mind that the best way to serve their students is to keep themselves healthy. While the above list will help you recognize some of the health hazards of teaching, I would encourage you to go to the websites listed below to fully understand the many health risks that this profession can induce.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1523205/

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/voice_problems_an_occupational_hazard_for_teachers

http://www.medicaldaily.com/occupational-hazard-teachers-more-likely-develop-speech-and-language-disorders-alzheimers-260035

http://work.chron.com/hazards-being-teacher-9309.html