Your smartphone can carry covid-19

Dirtier than your toilet, your smartphone can carry CoViD-19 viruses

With the cases of infection and death caused by the novel coronavirus disease (CoViD-19) growing in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) tirelessly remind the public to further observe proper sanitation.

Apart from placing the entire Luzon mainland under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the government has promoted handwashing as one of the simplest yet most effective ways to combat not only CoViD-19 but also many other infectious illnesses.

However, even if we frequently wash our hands, what if the objects that we often have contact with are actually among the dirtiest? Take, for example, smartphones.

On average, Filipinos spend around 10 hours and two minutes online using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, based on the report published by social media management firm Hootsuite in 2019 and creative agency We Are Social.

Unfortunately, smartphones are among the dirtiest things that we touch. Ten times filthier than your toilet seat, smartphones can harbor an average 17,000 bacteria, according to a study released in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website in the United States.

Like bacteria and other microorganisms, viruses like coronaviruses can linger on smartphones. CoVid-19 viruses, for example, can remain up to 9 days on smooth surfaces like smartphone screens, based on a study released by the Journal of Hospital Infection last February.

That said, besides proper handwashing, keeping our smartphones sanitized can also help in our combat against CoViD-19 and other illnesses. Below are some tips on how to properly and safely clean your smartphone to keep viruses and microbes at bay:

1. Wash your hands before and after you sanitize your phone to prevent microbial transmission.

2. Use a soft, lint-free or microfiber cloth. Avoid using rough cloths like towels and paper towels as they can damage the surface of your phone screen.

3. Use 70% isopropyl alcohol. It works as an effective disinfectant against germs. When sanitizing your phone with alcohol, use cotton balls or felt-tipped swabs when trying to clean hard-to-reach areas like ports to avoid liquid spilling in those parts that can damage internal components.

4. You may also use hand soaps with alcohol content. Put a few drops on the screen and wipe the entire phone with a microfiber cloth. Avoid letting moisture into any openings. Wipe off the soap with a damp microfiber cloth afterward. Dry your phone off using a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

5. Never use harsh home cleaning products. Window and household cleaners that have strong chemical components like ammonia or hydrogen peroxide may damage your smartphone screen.

6. Use UV light sanitation. Also used in hospital-grade disinfecting procedures, UV-C light serves as a potent sanitizing solution. UV devices can be used as well to disinfect your smartphone.

These simple ways have been proven to reduce the microbes found on smartphones as shown in a study by University College of London microbiologist Dr. Lena Ciric.

So, whether there is a spreading disease or in time of peace, always observe proper sanitation to lessen the risk of getting ill due to microbes. And that should cover even our handy-dandy smartphones.