Cell phones carry lethal bacteria

By By Natalie Hale

By Natalie Hale

What everyday object is the cleanest: a toilet seat, the bottom of your shoe or a cell phone? The answer might be surprising.The Craigavon Area Hospital Group Trust released a study that shows cell phones can play host to a variety of germs, more than some of the dirtiest toilet seats.The study, conducted at a hospital in Northern Ireland, included 53 doctors and 52 members of the nursing staff. It was conducted because of concerns about hospital infections and the spread of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, a type of antibiotic resistant bacteria that can be deadly if ingested. MRSA occurs most often in hospitals and nursing homes where immune systems can be weak and is manifested as pimples or boils in otherwise healthy people.Of the 105 phones swabbed for the study, 96.2 percent had evidence of bacterial growth and 15 phones grew bacteria known to cause infection.Two of the phones swabbed contained the deadly form of MRSA.While most students don’t have the same degree of interaction with lethal diseases as hospital workers, it does not make them immune to filthy cellular phones.”It does not surprise me that cellular phones are so dirty,” said Ben Steigers, a sophomore in philosophy. But when told about the study, most students were well aware of how filthy their phones could potentially be.”I am constantly washing my hands, I rarely use my phone if my hands aren’t clean,” said Sheldon Baumgarthner, a senior in meteorology.While most of the bacteria that grow on phones aren’t harmful to your health, it is important to keep cell phones clean. Most of the time, phones are kept in warm dark places, such as purses and pockets, which makes them ideal breeding grounds for breakout-causing bacteria. “I try to swab my phone down with rubbing alcohol at least once a week to try and keep it clean, and if the screen is dirty, I wipe it off with my shirt before I use it,” said Steigers.As many cell phone companies are becoming aware of the bacteria and germ issues associated with phones, many are responding to it with phones covered in an anti-microbial coating.Possible suggestions for keeping phones clean include washing your hands before use of cells phones and cleaning them often with either an anti-bacterial wipe or rubbing alcohol.