Where the Germs Hide
E.T., phone home -- and ask for some disinfecting wipes, pronto.
That device you use to reach out and touch someone -- your phone -- may be touching you back with dirt, germs, and other baddies. In a study of household surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms, scientists discovered that phone handsets and mouthpieces were two of the most contaminated. So grab a cleaning wipe and give yours a rubdown regularly.
High levels of amylase, an enzyme that warns of contamination from saliva, sweat, urine, or other bodily fluids, were found on the handsets and mouthpieces of phones that researches recently tested in 17 households. Phones tended to have even more amylase than baby gear, including baby changing mats.
If that's not bad enough, researchers speculate that contaminated phones might be a culprit in nasty cold and flu infections. Viruses can survive on certain surfaces for hours, or even days, depending on the room's humidity and temperature. And once you touch a contaminated surface with your hands, it's maddeningly likely that the virus will be transferred to your nose or mouth -- and bingo, the bug's in your body. So clean your phone, and don't forget to wash your hands afterward!
Detection of viruses and body fluids which may contain viruses in the domestic environment. Bellamy, K., Laban, K. L., Barrett, K. E., Talbot, D.C., Epidemiology and Infection 1998 Dec;121(3):673-680.