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Cell phone bacteria

How your phone spreads bacteria

On each square centimetre of your skin there are about 1 500 bacteria. Five of the most common ways to spread germs are centred around our hands and touching. From unclean hands touching food; working with raw food, then touching other uncooked foods; shaking hands and touching animals.

But throughout our day, there is one common device we are constantly clutching in our hands, our phones. Fun fact: each square inch of your cell phone contains roughly 25,000 germs, making it one of the filthiest things you come in contact with on a daily basis, according to Mashable. However, toilet seat contains around 1201 bacteria per square inch.

The same study showed that a door knob contained even more bacteria, at 8643 per square inch. Many people typically use a door knob each day, yet it still doesn’t come close to the amount of germs you find on your screen.

That is a lot of germs to press to your face daily. Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, says this is not surprising. “Nobody ever cleans or disinfects their phone, so the germs and bacteria just keep building up,” he explains.

But what type of germs would you find on your screen? Well, germs such as E. coli, as well as influenza and MRSA, a germ that causes rashes and skin infections, were present in studies.

Gerba added: “With the advent of touch-screen phones, the same part of the phone you touch with your fingertips is pressed right up against your face and mouth, upping your chances of infection.”

A study involving 200 phones as published in the “Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials” stated “94.5 percent of the phones were contaminated with some kind of bacteria, many of which were resistant to multiple antibiotics.”

A large amount of germs are transferred from our hands to our phones and vice versa, according to the study 30 percent of the bacteria on the phones ended up on the owner’s hands.

“Because people are always carrying their cell phones even in situations where they would normally wash their hands before doing anything, cell phones do tend to get pretty gross,” says Emily Martin, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Time reported.

Germs get passed on to your phone every time you check a text or send an email, but most of the organisms found on phones are not pathogens that will make you sick, Martin added.

So the next time you’re holding your phone think about how many germs are in your hand. However there are ways to minimize the amount of bacteria that’s on your phone. Firstly, the path to a clean phone begins with not taking it into the bathroom. Whether you wash your hands or not, germs still find a way to latch on, so try not taking it along. Other tricks would include wiping it with a micro cloth, etc.

But if you are like most of us, and take your phone EVERYWHERE, invest in insurance not only for your phone, but for your health too! Medical insurance in South Africa is as simple as going to www.AffinityHealth.co.za and signing up and we will call you.

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