Tech toys like the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot can help you spend more, but they also raise the risk of illness, says medical researcher Dr. Scott Gittleson.
“It is the least expensive, but not the most convenient, way to get to wellness,” he says.
That’s because the more time you spend in the home, the more likely you are to have a cough or an infection.
“You want to be as active as possible, but you want to make sure you are in a healthy state,” says Gittlsons.
A healthy state means a low risk of respiratory infections and coughing.
“There is no evidence that home automation devices can eliminate coughs or infections,” says Dr. Michael J. Fenton, chair of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
“But if you have a lot of these gadgets around and they are connected, then the likelihood of getting a cough, for instance, is significantly reduced,” says Fenton.
A lot of home automation products are connected.
This may be due to the fact that most of these devices are not designed for use in bedrooms or other spaces where the air is fresher.
“They are designed to be plugged in and plugged out,” says Hahn.
And, like any smart device, these devices can have issues when used in rooms where people are not exposed to the air.
“If you put it on a wall and you are not around the people who are sitting in front of the computer, you’re not going to see much of a difference,” says Juss, the physician.
If a device does not respond to a call or notification, you might be better off asking your doctor to replace the device, says Fahn.
“What if I have to go into a hospital room to get my medications?” says Fennet.
He recommends that if you’re concerned about coughing or other health issues, you take the device out of the house and use a different device.
“That device is not going the hospital room, it’s not going anywhere,” says John.
But for those who do want to buy a device, the research suggests that you should be cautious.
“I have found that a lot more expensive devices have been associated with higher death rates,” says Sorenson, the doctor.
“These devices are so much more complicated to use that they can easily be misused and cause a lot worse problems than you might expect.”
The research does not address whether using a home automation device to make your own health care decisions is safe or effective.
“The devices themselves are not really designed for any kind of health care use,” says Ehrlich, the New York Times health writer.
“Their primary purpose is to communicate with you and your medical records to tell you things about your health, and their primary function is to get you to take care of yourself.”
He says you should consider the device only as a last resort, and don’t be tempted to take them with you on long trips.
“People who are in medical emergencies should use a health care device, but the device should not be the only tool in their toolbox,” says the physician, noting that some of the devices can also be used as an air purifier.
Health topics covered in this report include: Health and science topics: Pneumonia, respiratory infections, coughing, flu, allergy, flu shots, vaccines, cough, flu and more, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.