Standford Study: Pathogens on Touchscreen Phones Are Health Hazard

The body of research about bacteria accumulation on cell phones is growing. Earlier this month a study  by Timothy Julian of Stanford University warned of the alarming rate of bacterial growth on touchscreen phones and the potential for their users to contract dangerous infections like staph, salmonella, E.coli, or influenza viruses. The study was published by The Journal of Applied Microbiology in July of this year.

Like any other cell phone or handheld device, a touchscreen is sure to gather germs, bacterial, oils and even makeup from daily use. Now PhD candidate Tim Julian's research shows touchscreen phones and devices such as the iPad are an even bigger breeding ground for germs, showing that if a virus is present on a touchscreen surface, at least 30% will get on your fingertips and can be easily transferred to your hands, face, and mouth. Not to mention if you do have a touchscreen, it’s probably a multimedia device like an iPhone or iPad that you’re sharing with friends, showing them videos, apps and all the cool things your phone can do. 

The Solution? 

It's a smart idea to take a moment from your digital lifestyle and attend to your personal hygiene. Now that cell phones are such an integral part of our daily lives, it makes sense to clean it once in a while and prevent germs from getting on the phone and ultimately, from reaching your mouth, face and hands during every call or text. Even the most mundane action like setting your phone down on a table at a coffee shop, or throwing it in your purse next to loose change and other item, means picking up germs that aren’t your own and are potentially hazardous to your health. 

Do you own a touchscreen phone or other mobile device? Are you finding fingerprints, oils and smudges all over it?  

iPhone photo via Urban Dirty / Pad photo via Simon Chow/Flickr


Pregnancy Goes Mobile

What Mobile-Savvy Moms-To-Be Should Know About Cell Phones

Today’s expecting moms have more technological know-how and access to information and tips about pregnancy than any previous generation. Thousands of websites, blogs and convenient mobile apps that live in your pocket are at pregnant women’s disposal to digitize and personalize the incredibly rewarding experience of bringing a child into the world.

From tracking baby motions to contraction timers to over 50 other useful related apps pregnancy has indeed gone mobile. Many women are even now tweeting and live-blogging their deliveries live.

But one thing that hasn't changed is the increased infection risks and complications pregnant women face while expecting a child. It is well known that pregnant women are more likely to become severely ill from a flu infection than women who are not pregnant and the CDC puts them in the category ofhigh risk for flu complications.

Germs on Cell Phones

Since research has shown an average cell phone can be dirtier than a public toilet seat or door handle, catching a nasty flu or staph infection from a dirty cell phone while timing contractions using Birth Buddy or some other app  on the way to the hospital is a real and tragic possibility.

Aside from mobile apps, expecting moms in 2010 and beyond are likely to be on their cell phone on the way to the hospital on the special day, and otherwise use their cell phone throughout their pregnancy to stay connected to their doctors, friends and family, social networks and more. It’s important for the device they’re holding against their face, near their mouth and ears and use throughout the day to be clean.

Knowing their cell phone gathers germs and bacteria from all sorts of places, smart moms-to-be are wise to practice “mobile hygiene” regularly, and incorporate it into their daily routine by cleaning their cell phone every day or every week.

As an expecting mom, what precautions have you taken to protect your health and hygiene during your pregnancy?