Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How Disgusting Is Your Favorite Device?

     Between talking, texting and surfing the web, your cell phone gets handled a lot—and according to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, it could be full of bacteria and viruses. The British study found that 92% of the cell phones tested in the UK have bacteria on them—and 16% contained E.coli—which comes from human and animal feces. Pretty gross, but think about it. Germs hang out on shopping carts, toilet seats and handles, and door knobs—why not cell phones? Few people wipe off their phones and many share them.

     The problem isn’t so much that we take our cell phones everywhere (including the bathroom, yuck!) and use them all the time. The issue boils down to good housekeeping and hand hygiene. Maybe you’re good at using wipes at the grocery store to clean off your shopping cart, but have you taken an anti-bacterial wipe to your cell phone lately? A wipe or a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol is a great way to clean your phone.

     Chances are, if you have a dirty phone, you’ll have dirty hands. No matter how often you wash your hands, if you don’t clean your phone you’re picking up germs every time you pickup the phone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend being especially vigilant about hand washing in these situations:
  • Before, during and after preparing food (especially if you’re using your phone for the recipe!) 
  • Before eating food 
  • Before and after caring for or visiting someone who is sick 
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound 
  • After using the toilet 
  • After changing diapers 
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing 
  • After touching an animal or animal waste 
  • After touching garbage 

If you’ve forgotten how to wash your hands thoroughly, here’s a refresher:
  • Wet your hands with water and apply soap 
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and continue for 20 seconds (or enough time to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice) 
  • Rinse your hands with water and use a clean towel or air dry them 
     When soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizers are a good substitute as long as they contain at least 60% alcohol. Remember, clean hands make for safer wireless communication!

By Anne Gill

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