They have become an extension of our body. Behind every laugh, every song, every lunch, every gesture, every journey, every conversation is hidden: our mobile phones. They accompany us in everything we do and we are so used to them that we are not even aware of it. However, let’s think about it with some information: It is estimated that we touch these devices an average of 2,617 times a day, which means bacteria have 2,617 opportunities to get to our hands and skin. In this sense, how does this close contact affect our health?
“Mobile phones are a source of microorganisms, some good and some bad, that we encounter when we touch the screens,” says José Ramos Vivas, professor of microbiology and researcher at the European University of the Atlantic. In general, the expert continues, The bacteria we encounter every day “shouldn’t worry us because they’re the ones we normally have on our skin.”. We pass it from our skin to the screen and from the screen to our skin.”
But, What bacteria can we find in these devices? Ramos replies that two types of so-called staphylococci are the most common. “There are coagulase positives and negatives. To give us an idea, some are known as aureus staphylococci and others, as epidermis. As the word suggests, they are frequent residents of our skin,” explains the specialist.
Hospitals, a worrying environment
So far, we have focused on the germs that live on the general population’s mobile phones and generally pose no threat to our health. The problem lies in the bacteria that can harbor these electronic devices in hospital environments.
In this regard, Ramos warns that those circulating in hospitals are not the same as those on the street: “They are resistant to antibiotics and some species can cause serious infections“. Specifically, the microbiologist points out that some bacterial genera are common at these locations Acinetobacter waves KlebsiellaPathogens that are responsible for skin infections, pneumonia, or meningitis, among other things.
“They are exposed to hospital bacteria and more antibiotics. Therefore, it is normal for them to be resistant to some or many of the antibiotics used in hospitals,” explains Ramos, who reminds us that people with a problem with the immune system, the elderly, and young children should be particularly careful.
A recent review in the Journal of Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases We bring to your attention the public health problem caused by mobile phone contamination in health care settings. For this reason, the authors of the same ask the governments of the whole world to Take steps to make people aware of the importance of disinfecting their devices. In this sense, they recall that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched campaigns of this type, focused on the Covid-19 pandemic, “but it is necessary to present them more comprehensively, to account for any pathogenic organisms”.
How to properly disinfect my cell phone
Even if, as already mentioned, we live with the fact that most bacteria are in mobile phones, hygiene never hurts. Ramos recommends adhering to the following guidelines:
- Wash your hands well.
- Avoid going to the bathroom with your cell phone.
- Use antibacterial screen protectors. “This tool is useful so that microorganisms do not attach themselves so much to the screens,” says the expert.
- From time to time wipe the mobile screen with a small cotton pad with ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Ramos assures that in this way “at least 75% of the bacteria” could be eliminated.