Is your phone making you sick?


Would you smear poop on your phone and put it next to your face to make a phone call?  How about touch it with your fingers when you text? According to a study by scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, that’s pretty much what you are doing.  The UK researchers said that of the approximate 400 cell phones tested, nearly 20% were contaminated with fecal matter in the form of E. Coli bacteria.  In other words, poo.

The Pew Research Center says that 75% of people 12-17 years old in America own a cellphone. Half of them send over 50 texts a day and ⅓ of them send over 100 texts a day. “Cellphones are one of the most contaminated objects in everyone’s daily use,” said NPHS Nurse Jewel Hampton Another study has shown that a cellphone has 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom. Just let that sink in a minute…18 more times! “It makes sense,” said Nurse Hampton “Things like that are being cleaned and sanitized all the time, but our phones never get cleaned.” Every square inch of your cellphone contains roughly 25,000 germs. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials found that 94.5% of the phones they tested were contaminated with some type of bacteria; some of that bacteria was even resistant to multiple antibiotics. Gerba tested 25 cellphones and found that the staph bacteria was growing on almost half of them. If you’re not aware, a staph infection potentially can kill you.

Recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as a real life medical condition, “Blackberry Thumbis something that can happen caused by over-using that particular muscle. It’s a feeling of numbness due to an inflammation of tendons. “It could lead to tendinitis or arthritis in the future,” Destri Millsap said. Another physically harmful condition, known as “text neck,” a phrase describing the pain and sometimes injuries, that can be caused from looking down at cellphones and other devices for too long. Some symptoms that can come from text neck could be: chronic headaches, +upper back pain and/or shoulder pain. “It’s not too serious,” Millsap said, “but you may need physical therapy.”

With all of this information, it seems obvious that we should be washing our phones regularly. However, our phones are rarely ever disinfected. “Cleaning them once or twice a week with rubbing alcohol could keep us healthier,” Nurse Hampton said, “but washing your hands is the most effective way, for sure.”