Cell phones are “ideal vehicles” for spreading coronavirus.
That’s the conclusion of researchers who completed a major new analysis of how the devices transmit germs.
Researchers from Australia’s Bond University reviewed 56 studies focused on contamination of cell phones by pathogens including viruses. The data was extensive…gathered from 24 countries between 2006 and 2019.
Professor Lotti Tajouri was the study author. He said that mobile phones not only carry bacteria but also disease-causing “viruses, fungi, and protozoa in the thousands.”
His review found that 68% of mobile phones harbor a wide variety of germs. None of the studies looked specifically for the new coronavirus because it didn’t emerge until after the data was compiled. But Professor Tajouri said he and his team “hypothesize strongly that mobile phones are responsible” for the rapid spread of COVID-19.
He notes that the coronavirus can survive on “glass, plastic, and stainless steel for days.” These are materials often used in phones.
And cell phones are likely to accumulate germs because people take them everywhere and rarely wash them, he said.
It’s true that other everyday objects also become contaminated. But cell phones are like “international ambulatory five-star luxury hotels for germs,” said Tajouri.
Dr. Stephen Berger, co-founder of the Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network, agrees. He said that cell phones “are ideal vehicles for the virus of COVID-19.” They’re constantly exposed to “material exhaled from our mouth and nose, and spend literally hours in our rather filthy hands.”
4 Ways to Stop Your Cell Phone From Making You Sick
Here’s how you can keep your phone from being a coronavirus haven:
- Never share it. If someone asks to use your phone, make the call for them.
- Keep it clean. Experts say you should think of your phone like a third hand, since you probably touch it every day. “Before you wash your hands, wash your phone,” recommends Professor Tajouri.
Turn it off before cleaning. Disinfect it using 70% alcohol, a disinfectant wipe, or soapy water if your phone is water resistant. Remember to disinfect under the cover. Pay special attention to the buttons and the spaces around them. They provide nooks for germs to hide in.
Clean your phone at least once a day.
- Watch where you put it. Avoid placing your cell phone on a potentially contaminated surface. Be especially careful if you’re out in public. Make a point of keeping your phone in a pocket or phone holster.
- Avoid bringing it to your face. Use the speaker phone…or get ear buds that include a microphone. You can buy them for as little as $14.95.
Don’t let your cell phone make you sick. Follow the steps above to make sure your device is not a “five-star luxury hotel for germs.”
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