Did you know dirty phones can make you sick? Consider the all too familiar case of Patricia, a 21-year-old college student in Austin, Texas, who for several years since high school had suffered from the occasional breaking out on one side of her face. She thought it was acne. It wasn’t.
Through her high school years and in college, Patricia thought she was having mild cases of acne. She attributed her timing of her breakouts to the normal growth experiences and effects of adolescents. Though her time frame was right, her conclusion wasn’t. After visiting the doctor on account of a particularly bad breakout, Molly learned that the breakouts on the side of her face weren’t on account of acne, but rather a very dirty phone, the usage of which started on her 14th birthday. She also learned that this was not an uncommon condition.
Germs and Bacteria Get on Your Phone
Why do germs and bacteria get on our phones? Because most of the time, our hands are actually quite dirty. Mind you, it is not so much that our hands are covered in dirt and debris that are visible to the eye, but rather they are covered in germs and bacteria and small things that you can’t see. Most of the time, our hands are a living petri dish. Each time we use our phone, it is possible to transfer germs and bacteria to it.
Types of Bacteria Found on Phones
Scientific studies have revealed that phones have 10 times more bacteria than toilet seats. One particular study at the University of Arizona found over 17,000 bacterial gene copies on the phone of a high school student. Common types of bacteria found on phones include:
- Streptococcus: This bacteria can lead to Strep Throat and other illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis.
- Staphylococcus: This bacteria can cause ear infections, sinusitis, and even the stomach flu.
- Corynebacterium: This bacteria results in Diphtheria which most people were vaccinated for when they were kids, but it also can cause skin infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the heart.
- E.Coli: Strains of this bacteria can range from not very harmful to extremely harmful leading to infections and life-threatening illnesses.
- Cold and Flu: The cold and flu virus should be included in this list as well. Almost everyone has had a cold or a flu. Symptoms such as aches, fever, cough, and fatigue can be treated and usually go away on their own.
Tips for Cleaning Your Phone
Cleaning your phone is actually very easy to do and takes very little time. Here are a few tips to keep your phone clean and to greatly reduce if not eliminate the risks of getting sick from your phone:
- Clean your phone every day. Pick a time that is good for you and just make it a daily habit.
- Turn your phone off before cleaning it. This is good to do for two reasons. One, you are less likely to cause damage to your phone on account of it getting wet. And two, when you turn your phone off it is much easier to see the dirt, smudges, and fingerprints on the screen.
- Use warm water and soap to clean your phone or use a specially-formulated cleansing solution designed for phones, but don’t use harsh chemicals. Phones can be damaged when harsh chemicals seep into ports and jacks.
- Wipe your phone dry with a soft Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth. These cloths will dry your phone without scratching it.
- Practice defensive hygiene by washing your hands frequently throughout the day and by being aware of what your hands are touching. If possible, when in public places like waiting rooms, reception areas, bus stations, train stations, and airports try to avoid touching common surface areas. Rarely are these common surface areas cleaned.
- Be mindful of where you place your phone. The last thing you want to do is to use your phone in a public restroom or set it down on the counter of a public lavatory. The same goes for any other place likely to have an abundance of germs and bacteria.
Who doesn’t have a phone? Phones have increasingly become an indispensable device for how we communicate with others, obtain information, and live our lives. Sure, we all know the last time we used our phone, but how many of us know the last time we cleaned our phone? Simply put, dirty phones can make you sick. Make it a habit to regularly clean your phone, safeguard when you use your phone, and be mindful of where you place your phone. Keeping your phone free of germs and bacteria might very well help you avoid catching a cold, the flu, or having a breakout on your face.