Monday, October 17, 2011

Nasty Bugs Lurking on Your Cell Phone

Study: E. coli Found on Cell Phones the Result of Poor Hand Washing
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Rob Hicks, MD
red cell phone
Oct. 14, 2011 -- The next time you reach for your cell phone, consider this: A new study found that 92% of cell phones in the U.K. have bacteria on them - including E. coli -- because people aren't washing their hands after going to the bathroom.
The E. coli came from fecal bacteria, which can survive on hands and surfaces for hours.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London looked at cell phones in 12 cities in the U.K.
They took 390 samples from cell phones and hands, which were then analyzed for germs. People were also asked about their hand hygiene.

Phone Filth and Other Facts

The study found:
  • 92% of phones had bacteria on them.
  • 82% of hands had bacteria on them.
  • 16% of hands and 16% of phones had E. coli bacteria, which is found in feces.
However, 95% of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, which suggests we have a tendency to lie about our hygiene habits.
"We're pretty shocked to find the vast majority of mobile phones -- 92% -- had bacteria all over them. Often large numbers of bacteria,” said hygiene expert Val Curtis, PhD, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
"That isn't necessarily something that we should worry about, but what is worrying is that 16% of mobile phones had E. coli on them. E. coli comes from human [and animal] feces,” she says. "That means that people with dirty hands are not washing their hands after using the toilet, for example. Then they're handling their mobile phones.”
It’s not just cell phones that the dirty hands are touching, Curtis says.
"They're also touching other surfaces as well,” she says. “They're spreading fecal bugs on everything they touch really."

Toilet Texting?

Is there a more worrying way the phones are getting contaminated -- by people using them while they're in the bathroom?
"We didn't ask people whether they'd used their phones in the toilet. That might be something that would be interesting to study," Curtis says. "People do tend to use their mobile phones everywhere they go. Perhaps we should discourage their use in the toilet."
So is having unclean hands a modern-day problem linked to our new technology?
"Humans have had infections since before they were human. It's a really ancient problem," she says. "Bugs are evolutionary masters at getting from person to person.”
Anything that you touch can become a source of infection, Curtis says. So hand washing after using the toilet is crucial.

Excuses, Excuses

Curtis says people can be quick to excuse their nasty habits.
"They say that they're in a hurry, they say that the water's too cold. People don't actually feel that their hands have got contaminated.
"Everyone knows they should do it, so it's not education that's the answer. We need to find other ways to remind people that it's disgusting that their hands are dirty and their hands get smelly and foul after the toilet,” she says. "Disgusting people with the state of their hands is probably the most effective way of getting people to wash their hands."


JustinO'Shea said...

Isn't this totally GROSS!!!! I really do not want to think about all the "possibilities". . . . .

BUT. . .

HOW do you disinfect that cell phone?
Spray it with Lysol? Dip it in. .. . ??? I am gonna put mine in quarantine. . .solitary confinement. . .ho ho ho

Really, HOW clean them? THANKS...JustinO


It really shakes you up, thinking about shaking hands with someone, makes a person think!!! How much
of their fecal germs have they washed from their little paws. Guess that maybe we are not as clean as we think we are.
Coming from a family of 9 and 1 bathroom, my mom and dad ingrained in us that you are to wash your hands after you do anything. Period.

Gary Kelly said...

King Henry VIII solved that problem by employing a Royal Bum Wiper. And that's where the word "stool" comes from. Henry used to sit on a stool with a hole in the middle, and have his bum wiped. Apart from anything else, he was grossly overweight and probably couldn't reach his bum anyway.

The Bum Wiper, by the way, was held in high esteem by the palace court. It was considered a privilege to be the official wiper of the royal ass.

jimm said...

Well... at least it's your own e-coli
I know i know... :(

On a similar note, you know those self-serve soda dispensers, where you fill a paper cup with ice, then your flavorite soft-drink... loaded with bad little buggers.

Imagine Felix Unger's reaction!

JustinO'Shea said...

Oy vey, not much better than royal arse kissing!!!

J said...

What do you expect in a society where everyone is talking shit 24 hours a day?
As for Henry, I loved his "throne" in Hampton Court. It was made of stone and built into the corner of a room, only partially enclosed. The hole traveled down along the corner of the palace wall and opened to the Thames.
The prototype of the flush toilet was invented by Sir John Harington in 1596. He installed one for Elizabeth I at Richmond Palace, but she thought it too noisy and wouldn't use it.
Jefferson's crapper at Monticello used no water and opened to a conveyor belt that the servants cranked to spirit the waste away. The first flush toilet I ever saw in America was installed in an architect's house during the 1840's in New Orleans.
So now, boys, chew on that history lesson for a while.

JustinO'Shea said...

I prefer NOT to chew, thank you very much.

BUT. . .

there is something for every one here.


Gary Kelly said...

BTW, how to disinfect the phone. Normally, when you clean sensitive electronic equipment, manufacturers suggest a damp cloth. I would suggest lightly spraying a clean cloth with disinfectant (rather than spraying the object directly) and wipe over gently so as not to wet it too much. Then you can use the cloth to wipe other things... and that's all I'm saying.

JustinO'Shea said...