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The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Wash Your Smartphone!

Posted December 02, 2016 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: bacteria smartphone

Every few years, we are treated to a story that sums up how filthy we are as human beings. Whether we are transferring E. coli via fecal matter to hotel room remote controls, or we are inserting our staph-infection laced fingers into bowling ball-holes, one thing is certain: We are disgusting!

And, if you think that is where the horror ends, you are mistaken.

The majority of us are creating another frightening bacteria situation with our most constant companion: our smartphones.

Long gone are the days when a book or a newspaper would suffice as reading material for a restroom visit. Want to read a book, a newspaper, check stocks, scan social media? You can do that on the conveniently-sized device in your hand, all from the comfort of your…toilet.

While you might diligently wash your hands once you have finished your business, are you also washing the phone that you just used?

Some findings about smartphones: One in six phones carries trace amounts of fecal matter; the bacteria found on one phone has 18 times more harmful bacteria on it than a public restroom handle and 10 times the bacteria than can be found on a public restroom toilet seat.

So, to answer the previous question: no. We are not washing our smartphones. Instead, every surface we have touched, both before and after washing our hands, has been transferred onto our phones.

Some of the bacteria found on lab-tested smartphones include E. coli, MRSA, and flu-causing bacteria. Although those were extreme cases, some of the more common bacteria found were those that might cause pink eye, acne, yeast infections, skin rashes, and bloodstream illnesses.

If we are exposed to all of these bacteria, then why don’t we get the corresponding illnesses more often? While most of us are immune to our own collective cocktail of bacteria, our bacteria might prove harmful to someone borrowing our phone or simply scrolling through our pictures.

Why are cell phones such a hotbed of bacterial activity? Smartphones are warm and typically enclosed in a dark place (i.e., your pants’ pocket, a purse, a case). All prime conditions for breeding dangerous bacteria.

By bringing your phone into the bathroom, you are inviting danger. Seemingly, your phone is in the most danger in public restrooms where the industrial flush of a toilet results in the spraying of fecal-matter plumes as high as 15 feet. Most bathroom surfaces have a minute layer of fecal-matter residue. Just setting your phone down on a nearby surface isn’t being cautious enough.

So the takeaway here is pretty clear: Don’t bring your phone into the bathroom!

But for those of you satisfied with maintaining a surface of your personal germ cocktail on your phone, please consider wiping it down with an alcohol pad once you have left the bathroom. Or, perhaps, don’t be so eager to share your pictures with us.

Do you (gasp) bring your smartphone in the bathroom? Do you have a method for cleaning your phone? Did I write “fecal matter” too much in this blog?

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#1

Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/02/2016 9:11 AM

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#9
In reply to #1

Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/06/2016 5:32 PM

Linked...⇓

((... I do not get the Costanza image ...))

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#2

Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/02/2016 5:30 PM

Too bad we don't have immune systems to handle the stuff we can't see.

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#3

Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/03/2016 8:17 AM

I suggest you follow this link. It will solve a lot of these sort of problems in your life.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder drugs.

Just because you don't think you have a problem doesn't mean the rest of us think the same about you.

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#4

Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/03/2016 9:11 AM

I could never understand people who sit on the pot reading newspapers, books, or 20 minute calls on their cell phones.

www.freeprintablebehaviorcharts.com<bathroom

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#6
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Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/03/2016 2:53 PM

see number 3

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#5

Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/03/2016 11:27 AM

Take a microbiology class and be prepared to be totally disgusted about where microbes reside in large numbers. It will boggle your mind.

Not only cell phones, but regular land line phones, coins, Bills, keyboards, etc. The list can include just about anything a person can handle and then pass along the microbes and viruses to another person or persons. You don't know what disgusting things people (before you) have done with those items.

One of the worse environments is your kitchen sink, which sometimes can harbor microbes more than 1000X than a toilet bowl, because most people don't adequately wash away the food particles there, let alone disinfect it with bleach. If your sink has a food disposal the numbers can grow many times the figure.

How many of us have witness someone in the lavatory who didn't wash their hands with warm water and a good amount of soap after they used the can or urinal? Personally, I've seen every day.

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#10
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Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

01/10/2017 10:11 AM

Raised on a farm, I have always felt that exposure to various bacteria, pollen as well as some viruses, actually strengthens your immune system.

I've notice that having not been helping out on the farm for a few years, I am more acceptable to infections and illnesses.

On the other hand, I don't care to touch other peoples excrement.

There are too much other pathogens such as Hepatitis C.

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#7

Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/05/2016 3:06 PM

Not all microbes are pathogens. The microbiota of the human body is a very complicated and convoluted ecosystem all by itself. It is believed that the over use of disinfectants and antibiotics is why superbugs exist.

"Kills 99.99% of the germs on contact." That remaining 0.01% was being kept in check by more than half of the 99.99% you just killed, now what?

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#8
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Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

12/06/2016 5:24 PM

"GA"

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#11
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Re: Wash Your Smartphone!

01/10/2017 10:12 AM

And its the strong and resistant germs that are to be feared.

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