Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Community News Network

January 18, 2013

Cold carriers: Cellphones can harbor germs, but are tricky to clean

JOPLIN, Mo. — As the flu grows to an epidemic, health professionals caution people to drink fluids, take plenty of vitamin C and keep nearby surfaces clean. Whether it's a flip-phone surface or a Microsoft Surface, electronics can harbor the same flu-causing microbes as doorknobs, counters, water fountains and desks.

But cleaning pathogens off those devices, especially the touch-sensitive screens of iPhones, Droid-powered devices and the like, can be tricky.

Manufacturers generally advocate the use of mild soap and water to clean a device, specifically warning against strong detergents and chemicals. But the perfect cleaning solution may already be on your desk or in your purse, said Guy Voltz, owner of Cell Phone Medics: Hand sanitizer.

"That's the best way to do it," Voltz said. "Any hand sanitizer will work. Just apply a light amount to a tissue or microfiber cloth."

Voltz said that anything with alcohol or isopropyl will kill cold-causing germs. The trick is to use the stuff sparingly and simply.

Don't smear the stuff directly on the device -- the substance shouldn't get stuck in cracks and crevices. Apply it to a microfiber cloth or facial tissue, then use that to clean the device. Voltz also recommends a cleaning once a day during flu season.

"Especially among school kids," Voltz said. "Other kids touch it, and they may be sneezing or sick. Why not do it daily? It only takes a second."

The cleaning procedure is simple enough that kids can clean their own cellphones, Voltz said. The same procedure can apply to tablet PCs and laptops.

Contagious cells?

There's not much research into exactly how effective a vector cellphones are for transmitting disease. Doctors say that person-to-person contact and dirty hands are the most common ways that the flu and colds spread.

But the devices are in close contact with the hands and face, which means that a handshake and a phone call could put a flu bug next to one's face relatively easily.

Chuck Gerba, a microbiology professor at the University of Arizona, has discovered that cellphones can host microbes for the flu, Norovirus and MRSA, according to a report from Scripps Howard News Service. He said the real threat comes when others make contact with it, giving the opportunity for a germ to jump.

And even though things don't survive long on the glass screen, the device's other surfaces and crevices can be more inhabitable, Voltz said.

And he's seen teens share cellphones more often than adults. That means killing those bugs requires something that has alcohol, or some form of it. But not much is needed, Voltz said.

"It's not necessary to have the expenditure of a high-end cleaner," Voltz said. "I wouldn't say to look for a high content of alcohol, either."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
House Ads
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide