A New Battleground In The Fight Against Germs

Once upon a time, connecting with our loved ones wasn’t so easy.  Families had one phone and that was their only way of reaching the outside world.  Of course times have changed.  Moms, Dads, teens, even the youngest members of the family have cell phones or smartphones.  They can talk, text, listen to music and connect to the Internet like never before, but may be unaware of a growing health risk undeterred by many doctors: dirty, germy and bacteria filled cell phones that have the potential to make the whole family sick.

Researchers have only just begun to discover the various forms of bacteria that may be lurking on every surface of your cell phone. According to a March 2009 study in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials infectious disease and epidemiology specialists are already warning that mobile phones used by health care workers may increase the risk of hospital acquired bacterial infections. But this the risks aren’t limited to just health care workers.

Other culture tests of cell phones reported by ABC’s Good Morning Americafound a multitude of virulent bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus(Staph  infection) e-coli, meningitis as well as the oh so unpleasant infectious flesh-eating MRSA on many cell phones.

Not only are dirty cell phones posing infectious health risks but they can also affect your skin. The British Association of Dermatologists cited in a published study that many cell users aredeveloping red or itchy rashes they’ve dubbed “mobile phone dermatitis.”

Today a  culprit behind a teenager’s breakout could be build up of oil, dirt and even make-up on their phone more than anything else, and mobile hygiene practices are becoming essential.

There’s no question that cell phones make our lives easier but it’s important to recognize that like all personal items, the surface of a cell phone can get pretty dirty, and when you consider how often we use them, that we hold them next to our face, and use them in places like during a meal or in bed, keeping these useful devices clean is more important than ever.

Doctors recommend regular cleaning of cell phones, placing its importance "near hand hygiene,” which means if you regularly wash your hands, you should be giving that same TLC to your cell phone.
If you're wondering how often you should clean your phone, visit the Mobile Hygiene Blog at www.mobilehygiene.org to learn emerging prevention tips, public service announcements and discussions on best cell phone hygiene practices.

Do you think your cell phones ever made you sick? Have you ever experienced a rash on just one side of your face? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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