Smartphones could pose unexpected health risks, according to the Globe and Mail. While you may not think of your mobile device as a treasure trove of icky bacteria, these gadgets often contain more germs than many people initially realize.
“We’re feeding the little creatures. We’ve all seen that greasy smear [on the touch screen]. Where there is grease, there are bugs,” explained Michael Schmidt, a professor and vice chairman of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the smartphone’s proximity to the mouth, nose, and ears makes these devices a virtual breeding ground for all sorts of harmful bacteria. Although you may think that you’re safe from these germs since you’re the only one using the phone, the amount microscopic nastiness currently living on your touch screen is actually quite robust.
Silicon India reports that some smartphones are dirtier than public toilet seats and could cause such unwanted conditions as the flu, diarrhea, and eye infections. The reason for this bacterial infestation is simple: People take their phones with them wherever they go, including the bathroom. What’s more, very few individuals make an effort to clean their devices.
As Dr. Schmidt points out, some phones aren’t designed to withstand rigorous cleaning. Even if you do decide to keep your phone squeaky clean, it may not survive the process.
“It’s really problematic because a lot of manufacturers don’t tell you what coating is on the phone,” he explained. “It’s hard to tell if an alcohol wipe will strip the oil-repellant coating and damage the phone screen.”
Dr. Jeffrey Cain, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said that experts are still figuring out all of the health problems these gadgets may ultimately cause.
“People are just as likely to get sick from their phones as from handles of the bathroom,” Cain explained. “These are the unintended consequences of new technology that we haven’t seen before so we don’t know all the risks yet.”
Are you concerned about the health risks your smartphone could pose?