Taking your cell phone to the bathroom can be dangerous, researchers say

Published: Nov. 8, 2018 at 3:01 PM EST
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Many people probably take their cell phones to the bathroom with them, but researchers are saying that the practice is actually dangerous.

asked some researchers: just how unhygienic is using the phone while on the throne?

According to Metro's findings, you could be exposing yourself and others to germs such as salmonella, E. coli and C. Difficile. The main concern, according to the article, is that if you wipe, touch the flush or the lock on the door, you could quite easily touch your phone before washing your hands. However, even leaving it on the side could expose your phone to "dangerous bugs."

Dr. Ron Cutler, director of biomedical science degrees at Queen Mary's University London, said, "Basically, you just shouldn't (take your phone into the toilet) if you are at all concerned about the transfer of viruses and fecal contamination."

Levels of contamination vary depending on the location of the toilet, Cutler said. A small office may not be a problem, but a hospital or a cruise ship might have viruses circulating.

Though the dangers exist, you can protect yourself. Hygiene expert Dr. Lisa Ackerly said you can do a risk assessment.

"Read the book or phone in your right hand, then transfer it to the left,’ she said. ‘Wipe with your right, flush with the right, carry the book or phone out in your left hand without touching anything else and then wash your hands."

"If you wipe your bum then pick up your phone, you may as well not bother washing your hands because all the bacteria you put on your phone will end up back on your hands," Dr Ackerley said.

The researchers say it's best not to put your phone down on the toilet roll holder or any shelf that may be there. Instead, put your device in your pocket or in your bag, as long as the bag is on a hook.

According to the article, germs can stay on your phone for a couple of days. ’'Phones heat up a little bit giving bacteria a nice warm environment,’ Dr Ron Cutler said. ‘If people handle sweets and leave a sticky coating on the phone, that’s an even better place for bacteria."

However, it's not all doom and gloom. Dr. Val Curtis, director of the Environmental Health Group at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said she doesn't believe using phones in the bathroom is a huge problem.

"It's important to get perspective that there are germs everywhere," she said. "The question is really, 'Could it make someone else sick?'"

Basically, don't forget to wash your hands, Curtis said, and you should be fine.