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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?