Next time you reach for your cellphone, you may first want to give it a good “wipe and cover.”
Experts say that cellphones easily spread germs that can cause nausea and stomach problems because they are rarely cleaned and are often passed between people, meaning the harmful bacteria just keeps on accumulating.
For example, earlier this month a man in Uganda reportedly contracted Ebola after stealing a phone from a quarantined ward of a hospital located near the site of an Ebola outbreak.
Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, conducted several experiments and found that germs easily get onto phones because phones are frequently in close proximity to our hands and mouths, and when a person lets another person use their cell phone the other person’s bacteria also accumulates on the device, according to Live Science.
Past studies also found that many other objects like remote controls, elevator buttons and microwaves we assume are clean are in reality a hotbed for nasty bacteria.
Scientists found that ATM machines have similar levels of pseudomonads and bacillus, bacterias known to cause sickness and diarrhea, as in public toilets. Computer keyboards were also found to be crawling with five times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.
Gerba said that because cellphones are electronic, some people are wary about cleaning them.
He recommends that people clean their phones down with antibacterial wipes from time to time, and to limit sharing the device with others.