5 Kinds Of Bacteria That You Can Find On Your Phone That Will Make You Reach For The Sanitizing Wipes
I am unhealthily attached to my phone, and it isn't just because I'm always online. I sleep with my phone under my pillow and get anxious if I can't find it. One time, my husband heard me say "my baby" and thought I was using a pet name for him, but I was actually talking to my new iPhone. As much as I love my phone, I'm starting to realize that bringing it everywhere is probably a bad idea since I'm also pretty stringent about avoiding germs. One survey found that up to 75 percent of Americans use their phones while on the toilet, so it makes sense that things can get grimy pretty quickly. The kinds of bacteria you can find on your phone are quite literally the stuff of nightmares.
PhoneSoap, a UV light-powered device that kills phone germs, says your cellphone is 18 times dirtier than a public restroom. And it gets worse! Your phone has more bacteria than a doorknob or pet food dish. It's one of the dirtiest objects in your home, and one of its primary functions is for it to rest against your face! So what's lurking on your favorite device? I'd say that I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm actually excited to share this disgusting news with you.
1. Fecal Matter
Folks, this one is a bit obvious. If you're bringing your phone into a public bathroom, what do you expect? One study found that 1 in 6 cell phones tested positive for fecal matter, which makes sense if we're using our phones as we poop. One of the easiest ways around this, according to experts? Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds after you use the bathroom, and give your phone a good cleaning (with a wipe, not with water) as well.
2. Golden Staph
While the name makes it sound pretty glamorous, golden staph isn't something you want on your phone. The scientific name is Staphylococcus aureus, and it's responsible for skin infections like boils and cellulitis, along with causing food poisoning and staph infections. So how does it end up on your phone? One report found that the bacteria usually lives in your nose, so if you go digging for boogers before sending a text, you could contaminate your phone. While we're on the topic, it's probably important to note that MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant infection that's notoriously difficult to treat, is a type of golden staph. It was found on more than half of the phones swabbed in one study. So please, please, please clean your phone.
We're not talking about the delicious, bread-related yeast, although I wish we were. Candida is responsible for yeast infections, and if that isn't bad enough, it's super common on the mobile phones of medical professionals. It's nothing to be afraid of because it's naturally found in your body, but an overgrowth can be bad news. The bacteria can cause thrush, an infection of the mouth, or one of those dreaded vaginal yeast infections.
Chuck Gerba, a microbiology professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, told WebMD that 80 percent of phones in homes with the flu have flu germs. The research applies to both landline phones and cell phones, but it's a reminder to clean your cell regularly, especially because we're currently in the middle of flu season and experts are anticipating that it will be a tougher year than usual. Gerba says the flu virus can survive for days on your phone, so it's definitely time to disinfect.
Not only is Streptococcus commonly found on phones, but the list of conditions it can cause is depressingly long. As the name suggests, it's responsible for strep throat, but you can also contract scarlet fever, skin infections, toxic shock syndrome, and flesh-eating disease. Newborns exposed to the bacteria are at risk for pneumonia and meningitis. It's a seriously terrifying germ, and it's probably sitting on your phone right now.
So how do you keep your phone clean? According to BuzzFeed, if you don't use your phone in the bathroom, at the gym or while eating, you're more likely to have a clean cell. You should also disinfect your phone regularly, whether you pick a UV light cleaner like PhoneSoap or regular disinfectant wipes. If you're not doing it for yourself, do it for the immunocompromised people around you. And heck, get your flu shot while you're at it.