Few would want to put their faces in a toilet bowl or kiss the kitchen floor — besides the yuck factor, it’s just odd — but based on a growing number of studies, simply using today’s technology that we have grown to rely on means we may as well be doing just that.
Contemporary life — from the pocket into the workplace — is an assault course of germs and viruses as a result of greasy touch screens and keyboards. The typical smartphone has around 25,000 germs per square inch and, while not all bacteria are harmful, how many of us use our phones means it’s likely we’ll end up covered in them.
People, even children, can’t go anyway without having a mobile phone in their hands. Many even use their mobile or tablet devices while on the toilet, anything that the hand becomes contaminated with gets passed on to the device.
Studies have shown that the typical mobile phone is coated with more germs than toilet seats, kitchen counters, the base of our sandals, and pet’s food dishes, among other items. Their hot batteries make the ideal breeding ground for germs and viruses and the American Academy of Family Physicians says individuals are just as likely to get ill from phones as from doorknobs in public bathrooms.
Flus, coughs and colds can all be carried on mobiles then moved back hands – rub your eyes after using you phone and may have just given yourself a cold.
Medical practitioners are even as going as far to urge people to purge their phones during times of the year when cold and flu outbreaks are most prevalent. Insisting that people use hands-free headsets whenever possible and to avoid taking their mobile phones into bathrooms.
Due to the proximity of mobile phones to your ears, mouth and nose, germs can easily be transferred from phone to body — only a quick hop away from attacking your immune system.
The next generation of mobile phones might have an in-built protection against germs, with some providers saying they are working on a glass with built-in anti-microbial qualities. But for now, the best way best to minimise the risk is to be aware of your personal hygiene — if your hands are clean then your phone will be clean.
While there are plenty of products available for cleaning smudges and marks on touch screens, few actually disinfect them. What is more, most phones have a protective coating to guard against oils and other contaminants, and producers warn against using conventional cleaning products on your phones or risk damaging this coat.
But when it comes to falling ill a larger risk is the workplace. We are likely to share keyboards, telephones and doorknobs, which makes the transfer of viruses and germs a greater danger.
We take germs with us, anything we do, we’re spreading these germs. The one that spreads most readily is the gastro virus. It survives on surfaces well and requires very few particles to cause us to fall ill. If a person has the virus, then it can spread throughout the entire office in just hours.
The average desk is about 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat, according to London company Master Cleaners, and in particular the area where you rest your hands, this contains around 10,000 units of bacteria. Make sure that these surfaces are cleaned regularly, at a minimum ensure your phone and keyboard are.
Alcohol wipes are recommended as they can handle both viruses and bacteria. While winter gastro bugs might seem worlds away as the summer approaches, a simple packet of wipes might well save you from being doubled over the toilet once the cold eventually sets in.
Forget about the thongs on your feet, it seems the ground is the least of our worries when it comes to exposing ourselves to bacteria.