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Mobile phone related-symptoms among primary care attendees in Al-Khobar city, Eastern Saudi Arabia

Yasser Ali Alghamdi, Attia ZainAlAbdeen Taha.

Abstract
Background: Several studies have shown that use of mobile phones may cause adverse health problems such as headache, sleep disturbances, ear warming and other symptoms.

Aims and Objective: To determine the prevalence of symptoms due to the use of mobile phone and to identify some factors associated with its use among primary health care (PHC) attendees in Al-Khobar city, eastern Saudi Arabia.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using interviewer-administered questionnaire during the month of May 2009 in Al-Khobar city. Three PHC centers were randomly selected and 431 attendees were interviewed.

Results: About 68.0% were using mobile phones for more than five years. About 43% had a single call time of 5-9 minutes and 56.8% had a daily call time from 30 minutes to one hour. Symptoms due to use of mobile phone included ear warming (52.9%), headache (15.1%), and facial numbness (13.0%). Factors found to be statistically significantly associated with presence of symptoms due to mobile phone use were daily call time of 30 minutes or more, using mobile phone for 3 or more years, and ending the call because of medical reasons.

Conclusion: The use of mobile phones was associated with subjective symptoms. It is suggested that excessive daily use of mobile phones should be avoided. Further research is needed to establish a cause-effect relationship.

Key words: Attendees; Mobile Phone; Primary Care; Symptoms; Saudi Arabia


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