Could your phone be making you sick?

Could your phone be making you sick?

You might be surprised how dirty your phone is and it could be making you sick. Many of us touch our phones while we eat meals and extra caution is warranted when it comes to these devices.

Illness-causing germs—including the types that cause food poisoning, common colds and other infections—can only make you sick if they enter your body. They tend to do that by clinging to your hands and then sloughing off onto the foods you put in your mouth, but they can also gain access to your system if you touch your ears, nostrils or breaks in your skin, such as cuts and scrapes. Your phone, too, is a vehicle that can effectively transfer infectious organisms.

So how often should you be cleaning your phone?

That depends on where you’ve been and how you handle your device. If you never use your phone while eating, you don’t have to be as diligent about cleaning your device. I always try to keep my phone away from me when eating just because it is usual around other people and I want to be engaging in the conversation rather than buried in my phone. But if you tend to use your phone all the time—including during meals—a daily cleanse with a disinfectant wipe is a good idea twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening” is a good rule to follow.

Regularly cleanings may be especially beneficial if you use a rubber phone cover; bacteria tend to more easily cling to that material than to your phone’s metal, glass or hard plastic components. Also, the raised edges where your phone and protective case come together can trap bacteria more effectively than a phone’s smoother surfaces, so those crannies warrant extra attention when you disinfect.

If you’re worried about hurting your device, Apple and other manufacturers recommend turning off your phone before cleaning, and avoiding getting liquid into the device’s charging port or other openings. Also, don’t spray disinfectant directly onto the device. Instead, spritz it onto a clean cloth or paper towel, or use a pre-treated disinfectant wipe.