Cell phones can be amazing little hand held computers that my life revolves around, I can barely get through a day without using my cell phone for a bunch of crucial searches (Internet, email, etc) and I sometimes wonder how I used to organize and live my life without it. A sadder statement, I have never made, but it’s true! What we don’t realize about these things that we are all attached to is that they can also be little petri dishes for some nasty bacteria that no one wants on (or near) their hands or face.
There was a decent sized study from the UK, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, that looked at our cell phones and what bacteria are carried on them. They studied around 390 cell phones and took swabs from the phones and from people’s hands. The biggest culprit of bacteria? E. Coli!! E. Coli is the bacteria that is most often found on fecal matter and can live on hands and other surfaces for hours and hours before dying. So, not only is it gross that there is E. Coli on people’s phones BUT that means that people are either not washing their hands after using the bathroom or they are texting or talking while using the bathroom! You have no idea how much that creeps me out! I am literally shuttering as I write this. Really? Pooping and texting at the same time? I mean, I totally understand multitasking, but sometimes you just need to take a moment for yourself, and I think whilst pooping, it should be your “me” time. Merely, a suggestion!
The study also looked at people’s hands and they found that 92% of the phones they swabbed were coated in bacteria, while 82% of the hands they swabbed had bacteria on them. 16% of each of those swabs were positive for E. Coli (from human and animal poop), and despite the one theory that people are pooping and texting, the other thing is that people may not be washing their hands. When they surveyed those studied, most people felt that the water was too cold, or they didn’t “soil” their hands (because they couldn’t “see” dirt on them), or they felt that they were adequately washing their hands when the obviously weren’t.
We obviously have a three-fold problem: people not being able to disconnect from their phones, a lack of hand hygiene, and a no cell phone cleaning. I think that these are all pretty easy dilemmas to solve! First, give yourself some time away from your phone, just completely disconnected, and leave your phone outside the bathroom. Second, PLEASE wash your hands after every time you use the bathroom whether you think you dirtied your hands or not, I promise you, they need it. And finally, clean your phones! You can purchase cell phone cleaning kits OR just get a lint free paper towel or cloth and use rubbing alcohol to clean areas that sweat and bacteria can build-up (on and between keys, mouth piece, ear piece, etc).
Taking these steps will not only prevent you from getting sick, but it will prevent other people from getting your germs and bacteria, so make these choices not only to prevent illness but to be proactive in a healthy lifestyle!
So ditch your phone at the door, and clean those paws!!
Yours in Good Health