National News

Terrifying Secret your Smartphone is Hiding

Think about this: We carry our smartphones with us everywhere we go and we store them in back pockets and purses where they are in contact with dollar bills and old receipts. We use them almost everywhere and set them down on any readily available surface- class desks, kitchen counters, bathroom counters, park benches, the ground, and tables at restaurants.

We also pull them out multiple times a day, whether it is to check Facebook or email, make an important phone call, take pictures, or listen to Pandora. To say smartphones are the young generation’s constant companions would be an understatement; they are an extension of our limbs.

It should come as no surprise that our smartphones are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. With them coming into constant contact with the outside world and being stored in dark, warm places, bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, boils, sinusitis and food poisoning have been found growing on the surfaces of many smartphones. “[I’m] very surprised to learn of this information, and I will definitely be more cautious and more aware of who I let borrow my phone and where I set it down” said Daniel Francois, a sophomore at The University after learning this.

A study published in 2009 in the “Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials” details the bacteria level of the cell phones of 200 hospital staff members. Research showed that 94.5 percent of the phones were contaminated with some type of bacteria, many of which were resistant to multiple antibiotics. A more recent study done in the U.K tested 30 mobile phones for levels of potentially harmful bacteria, or the total viable bacterial count (TVC). The study showed that twenty-five percent of the phones exceeded the acceptable TVC by ten times and had eighteen times the TVC as a handle on a public restroom toilet. “There is too big a habit among cellphone carrying people to just set our phones down anywhere, no wonder they are all covered in harmful bacteria. I would be conscious of where you set your phone down, try to keep it in one place. And to wash your hands frequently” said Shannon Werner, a senior at The University.

In light of this new information, remember to always be mindful of the bacteria growing on your smartphone. “If you have good hygiene to start with, not allow other people to handle your phone, don’t frequently put your phone down on germy surfaces, and be sure to wipe it with a disinfectant that is electronic safe, you shouldn’t have the problem of harmful bacteria growing on your phone in the first place” advises Freshman Lauren Muglio. Becoming more mindful of observing good hygiene and who you pass your phone to when looking at photos or watching a video will decrease the amount of harmful bacteria on your phone. A gentle swipe with an antibacterial wipe nightly should kill all harmful bacteria, even if you only do this once a week its better than what you’re doing now, which is probably nothing. Some companies even offer anti-microbial shells and screen protectors to guard against these scary germs. Following just one of these tips will greatly decrease the amount of harmful bacteria growing on your smartphone and lead to a healthier life.

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