Put Down That Phone!

130116-F-MZ229-001It sounds like the punch line of an old late night joke. “How dirty is it?” Well, new research shows your cell phone is ten times dirtier…..than a toilet seat! That alarming bit of information comes from a microbiologist at the University of Arizona.

From Today.com:

Cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats.  “When’s the last time you cleaned your cellphone?”asked Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona.

While toilets tend to get cleaned frequently, because people associate the bathroom with germs, cellphones and other commonly handled objects — like remote controls — are often left out of the cleaning routine.

Cellphones pick up germs all the time, Gerba said. “I see people talk on their phone on toilets.”

However, the amount of germs  on a phone isn’t a problem — it’s the sharing of phones between people. Without sharing, each phone carries just one set of germs, and won’t get its owner sick, Gerba said.

It doesn’t help that another recent study shows that most of us take our cell phones into the bathroom with us. Newsweek.com wrote, “Forget bathroom boundaries (or sanitation for that matter) because phones accompany 66 percent of people to the toilet. The study concluded that this “highlights the ubiquity of connectivity,” but didn’t evaluate what exactly people used their cellphones for on the toilet.”

According to AOL.com, it’s a mistake to take our cell phones into the bathroom with us.

“This one is probably going to be a little more difficult. People like to be distracted when they poop — that’s why people keep magazines in their bathrooms. But you really need to exercise some self-control and keep your phone out of the bathroom. Your game of Dots will still be there when you get back. Need more convincing? When you flush a toilet, tiny little poop-filled droplets of water spray all over the place. It’s so much poop that 60% of toothbrusheskept in a communal bathroom contained fecal coliform bacteria, according to one study. Just read the back of the shampoo bottle like old times.”

BuzzFeed.com tested a number of cell phones for germs and found that, along with normal bacteria, there were also several types of disease-causing bacteria on the phones including:

  • MRSA,
  • Staphylococcus aureus (pathogenic staph bacteria), and
  • E. Coli (a fecal organism).

As Tech Times points out, “Health experts have also warned that cellphones easily spread virus because they repeatedly come in contact with the face.”

So, what can you do to keep your phone cleaner? Besides putting it away when you head to the bathroom, Reader’s Digest has some tip on getting those germs off your phone!

We’d love to hear what you think about all the nasty germs found on your phone. Does it matter to you? Whether it does or doesn’t…..let us know why! Generating meaningful conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!




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