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New Hazards at the Office

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Do you spend most of your day sitting in front of a computer? Is your only exercise a short walk to the bathroom or to refill your coffee? If you answered "yes" to these questions, then you may be at risk for deadly blood clots. In fact, this newly-discovered danger at the office is higher than long-distance travel.

It's called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. It was first discovered with airline passengers who had to sit for a long time, and so it was nicknamed "economy class syndrome." DVT happens when a blood clot forms on a vein in the leg or pelvis. The clot can break off and block a blood vessel in one of the lungs. Death is the result.

The research discovered that many people who arrived at the hospital with blood clots had been sitting at work for long periods of time. In fact, some people had sat almost nonstop for twelve or fourteen hours, which is longer than many long-distance flights.

1.4% of people who report blood clots have recently traveled on a plane. But 34% of people with blood clots have just spent the day at the office. The numbers are alarming because the modern-day work environment requires employees to sit most of the day.

The study covered sixty-two patients aged 65 and younger.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. On average, people are unhealthier than ever before.
  2. I would prefer to work indoors instead of outdoors.
  3. An office job is dangerous enough to threaten your life.
  4. Employers should protect the health and safety of their employees.
  5. If a person dies to help his company, he is a fool.

True or False: Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. Is it dangerous to spend a lot of time at your computer?
  2. Long-distance air travelers have a higher risk for deep vein thrombosis.
  3. DVT and economy class syndrome are different medical conditions.
  4. Some people entering the hospital had worked for twelve to fourteen hours.
  5. According to the article, people are sitting for longer periods of time at work.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. What kind of job do you have? Does it require that you sit for long periods of time?
  2. What can you do to lower the risk of deep vein thrombosis at the workplace?
  3. What other hazards can you think of in association with the office?
  4. What does this problem tell us about the future world of work? Should we be worried?
  5. What would be the perfect office environment? Will ever work in such a place?

Google Search: Type "deep vein thrombosis" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:



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