"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. It is now safe to turn on your electronic devices for the remainder of the flight.” As a traveler, you know how relieving this announcement can be because, if you’re like most people today, your cell phone or smartphone is your most useful device during your journey.
Our cell phones, laptops, and tablets allow us to stay connected to our jobs, family, facebook (very important) and they make our overall traveling experience much easier. Today, various apps allow you to check in on flights, create itineraries, convert currency, and translate spoken words into multiple languages. Add in the photo capturing, music player and mobile web capabilities, and our cell phones and smartphones get handled a lot during trips.
A New Health Risk to Mobile Users
Now research shows that an average cell phone carries more germs than a public toilet seat, and most phones are covered with nasty creatures like Staphylococcus, MRSA and many others that not only will make you sick, but also, in severe cases, can be deadly. Scary? We think so too. It’s no secret that we are more prone to infection from germs while traveling, so taking time to clean your cell phone is a good idea.
Considering how often we snuggle up against our phones during a call, or text away during lunch, or perhaps plan the next leg of our trip from an exotic coast, cleaning the only item that follows us everywhere and often touches our face is a wise tip for today’s travelers.
Don’t let being sick put a damper on your next excursion. Clean your cell phone and tell your friends and family to do the same.
Safe and happy travels.
The CleenCell® Mobile Hygiene Campaign promotes personal electronic hygiene in hospitals, schools and homes. Cleaning your cell phone or electronic device can scratch the screen or damage the electronics of your phone. Use only products that are designed specifically to clean mobile electronics devices. CleenCell® Wipes are a reliable source.
Flowers are blooming, birds are serenading, and Apple just released a new device so springtime must be here. If you're not busy standing in line for an iPad 2, chances are you are cleaning and de-cluttering your home. So what better time to also clean your beloved cell phone, and health experts agree.
You see the average mobile phone, like other items in your house you use daily, builds up dirt and debris resulting in harmful bacteria touching your hands and face every time you make a call or text. Chances are your cell phone or smartphone went through a lot this winter, from snapping pics on the slopes to texting loved ones on a rainy Valentine's day to perhaps downloading a fun St. Patrick's Day app while at a pub just a few weeks ago. That's why today health experts are adding a new item to cleaning list, except it’s not something that should be cleaned every spring as the snow melts in your backyard, but in fact daily.
It’s easy to overlook such a seemingly small task, after all, the clutter in your house can be intrusive and an obvious jumping off point to spring cleaning (check out some spring cleaning tips here). But when you consider the dozens of news reports and studies in the past few years that prove cell phone are carriers of harmful germs, cleaning your cell phone makes as much sense as well, washing your hands.
Unlike tackling every nook and cranny in your home, wiping down your cell phone is a quick and effortless task, and it directly benefits your health by helping to prevent rashes caused by dirty mobile phones pressed to the face, and reducing the chances of serious infections, including MRSA which have been found in almost every study where cell phones were tested for germs. Plus you’ll actually be able to see your cell phone screen!
Most health experts recommend applying some type of anti-bacterial solution to your phone for effective germ removal and cleaning. But these doctors are not device experts so at the same time be mindful of the sensitive electronics and screen of your phone…you don’t want to get water damage to your cell phone during the cleaning process, or scratch the screen.
There are lots of solutions to use to begin mobile hygiene habits in your home this spring, so do your research and find the best solution for you that fits your lifestyle.
How often do you think a cell phone should be cleaned?
Based on comments from our facebook fans and articles such as this week's column by David Pogue of the NY Times titled "A Parent's Struggle With a Child's iPad Additiction", there seems to clear trend of parents handing their devices to their kids to keep them quiet, or, as Pogue puts it "fostering a love of music, an affinity for theater and expertise in strategy and problem-solving."
Germs on Devices
It is true that increasing studies show apps, particularly tablet apps displayed on a large interactive touchscreens can enhance the learning experience. But whether iPads and similar electronics are a good parenting tool or not, we have one suggestion: Clean those grimy iPhones and tablets before handing them to the kids.
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Research shows an incredible amount of bacteria builds up on our cell phones from daily use. Several reports, particularly here and here have discussed bacteria buildup on iPads and touchscreen devices specifically, and warn readers of picking up germs with every swipe and pinch of the high resolution touchscreen.
Today everyone is increasingly using mobile phones everywhere. Whether it's while gripping the germy handles of a shopping cart, the infested rails of a subway or bus, using your cell phone at the gym, or just sitting on a park bench, we're always touching and handling our phones and bacteria from that environment surely makes its way to the surface of the device.
This is why doctors for example not only should clean their phones to prevent the spread of infection in hospitals, but also before bringing that same cell phone home...and specially before lending their iPhone to their children to act as magical electronic babysitters, as Pogue admits to doing.
Pogue is right to exercise moderation when handing his 6 year old his iPad, despite the apparent enhanced learning power of apps designed for children. But while his dilemma is rooted in the negative physiological effects of electronics on young minds, other harms from touching and using electronics should also be considered by parents, and bacterial infection from tech devices like tablets and specially cell phones which are held to the face, is one of them.
Do you often lend your cell phone or tablet computer to your children? Are you concerned about any negative effects of your children overusing technology?
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Last month Good Morning America randomly tested a few cell phones for bacteria. Their findings: Yuk!
Using a handheld germ reader, the testers found the average phone harbors more germs than an office desk, a computer keyboard, and even a toilet seat. The report also stated that when you pick up a phone about a third of those germs transfer to your hands and subsequently your face. More than half of the mobile phones tested had virulent bacteria at levels that were considered unacceptable to Environmental Scientist Sheri Carlino who conducted the study. One girl even got a score of 442, which meant that her phone contained something like 100,000 bacteria.
“Researchers have found the flu virus, staph infection, MRSA, and more on mobile phones” reports GMA Consumer Correspondent Elisabeth Learny. “Since so many people handle their phones while they’re eating, those germs have a direct path into our bodies.” Ms. Learny warns virtually all cell phone users are at risk because cell phones have become constant companions and extensions of our hands.
The report states over 295,000,000 Americans currently own a cell phone.
MobileHygiene.org is tackling this problem one cell phone and smartphone at a time. We are working with infection prevention experts and occupational health and safety professionals to further research mobile usage trends in places such as hospitals, and to promote “mobile hygiene” practices in health care facilities, schools, food handling establishments, and in our homes. If you're department or colleagues are interested in working with us, please reach us by emailing email@example.com.
Cell phones, for better or worse, are here to stay. They are incredible tools that impact many aspects of our lives and have reached 4 billion users worldwide. It's smart to take action and clean all the cell phones in your home or workplace, specially your own.
If the correspondents on Good Morning America are talking dirty (they are by their own admission) you can bet you are too.
To learn more about the Mobile Hygiene Campaign please visit www.mobilehygiene.com.
You’ve probably already heard than an average cell phone, including yours, likely carries more germs than a public toilet seat. Studies have shown the bacteria exist in large numbers on cell phones, tablet computers, laptops, and other mobile and personal electronic devices which can then be transferred to the user. All it takes to pass it along is one text or one phone call. When the virus is on your fingers it’s easy to transfer it to the nose, mouth, ears, and face. And when you’re on a call with the phone pressed up against your face, the risk of bacteria transfer to the body, as well as rashes and other skin reactions, is even higher. Good Morning America tested a few cell phones in December 2010 with some alarming results.
More research is needed to pin down the true health risks of touching and handling a piece of glass and plastic all day, and holding it close to the face. The question is, are the germs and bacteria found common cell phones harmful to your health? If so, are we supposed to stop using cell phones altogether? (not happening). Should you sterilize your cell phone every night or after every call? Use a protective cover? Only use speakerphone or Bluetooth? What can you do to reduce your health risk to the germ and bacterial accumulation that inevitably builds up on every cell phone, especially popular touchscreen smartphones?
How To Protect Yourself
Consider these tips: Many doctors, including Dr. Oz, suggest "wiping down the phone," and if you use a protective cover, wipe that as well. Since cell phone users are hesitant to apply harsh chemicals and cloths to their expensive phones, some companies such as CleenCell®, have developed pre-moistened wipes specifically designed to clean cell phones, providing convenience and peace of mind for the safety of the device.
Some handset manufactures are adding antimicrobial coatings to devices like the iPhone, iPad and the Galaxy Tab slow down the bacteria buildup. There are even some cell phone cleaning solutions using ultra violet light to clean cell phones.
Clean Your Cell Phone
Since ditching your phone is not an option, and in fact your usage is likely to increase as mobile innovation and utility continues to grow, whatever solution you use, it appears cleaning your cell phone is the best way to fight against viruses and pathogens that build up on mobile devices. Keep in mind that frequent hand-washing remains the #1 way to prevent against infections, but as some doctors have noted, cleaning cell phones is increasingly a close #2.
As you strive toward a healthy and happy 2011, update your personal hygiene routine and clean the device you use most throughout the day, your cell phone.
What do you think is the best way to fight against germ buildup on your cell phone or smartphone?