Everyone i know has been a little under-the-weather in the last couple weeks.
It’s typical to hear your grandma say “yeah, that’s been going around” when you mention a cold or flu bug. I always laugh at that and immediately write it off, but this time I started thinking. All germs that make us sick come from somewhere, but what does everyone have in common.
While taking a bathroom break recently, it hit me how much gross interaction everyone has with one particular fixed variable…
We all have it
It’s replaced the need for our imaginary friends. It’s made many playtoys obsolete. It’s the supreme method for avoiding boredom, your child’s favorite chew toys, and our chief bathroom companion. But above all it’s our 24-7-365 connection to the world – assuming it doesn’t run out of battery when we need it most. It’s the friend that sticks closer than a brother. It’s our iPhone (or whatever inferior device you use).
There’s few things that our eyes look at more than our phones. If your honest, you have made less eye contact this week with your best friend – or even spouse – than with that beautiful 4-inch screen inside a white or black frame (or 4.7-inch if you have the iPhone 6). But there’s a chance that your favorite mechanical device is costing you more than money and hours of face-time with those you love.
Research done by health experts shows that your phone may be to blame for your runny nose or the cough you just can’t get rid of this spring…
A company that does medical research considers it a “not entirely surprising fact” that our mobile phones are one of the filthiest things we come into contact with on a regular basis, with on average 25,127 germs per square inch. This is 18x more bacteria than you would find on for instance…a flush handle in a men’s restroom.
A Stanford researcher, Timothy Julian, said in his report published to the Journal of Applied Microbiology that if you put a virus on the the surface of an iPhone, nearly 30% of it will get on your fingertips. Once its there, it is highly likely that it will go from your fingers to your eyes, mouth, and nose, the most common routes of infection.
Beware – your iPhone is exponentially dirtier than these surfaces:
- Ordinary Toilet Seat – 1,201 germs per square inch
- Typical kitchen counter – 1,736 germs per square inch
- Pet Scruffy and princess’s food dish – 2,110 germs per square inch
- Everyday grocery store checkout screen – 4,500 germs per square inch
- Standard Doorknob – 8,643 germs per square inch
The funny thing is that i typically go through rather drastic measures to avoid touching doorknobs and flush handles after washing my hands in the bathroom. I sometimes even deploy the kick-up method to raise the toilet seat in public, rather than touch it by hand. But then i settle in and grab my iPhone to keep me entertained for the next 5-10 minutes of alone time…
I now see the inconsistency with my actions.
Being sick is gross
We all want to feel strong for high productivity at work, maximum fun at play, and the like. We want to workout without coughing up a lung, enjoy the warmer weather outside, and have an infection-free vacation with the fam.
For the record, I am not a germaphobe. I eat street food everywhere I travel, I’m a firm believer in the 5 second rule, I share beverages, and I sometimes eat things of questionable quality from the pantry or fridge. I like to think it makes my immune system stronger. Ha!
Here’s a recommendation from the director of infection control at San Fransisco Medical Center: “people need to clean their hands, and people need to clean their stuff. That will go a long way to prevent transmission of viruses.” And personal health in general.
I realize it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen when your precious offspring is gnawing at the corners of your mobile device, but maybe next time you’ll think about the potential health concerns. Needless to say, ill probably give my iPhone a safe, but thorough bath soon. Here is a link that shows you how you can safely clean your iPhone and other mobile devices. I recommend giving it a shot.