Mobile Phone is a Hygiene Risk, Study Says


Technology, from smart and mobile phones to laptops, could be spreading illnesses and potentially killer diseases because of poor hand hygiene, according to research released by the Co-operative Pharmacy, a pharmacy retail chain in the United Kingdom.

The Co-operative Pharmacy commissioned the hand hygiene study, which revealed that 1 in 3 people use a mobile phone when in the restroom, while 1 in 20 people also surf on a laptop. Almost 1 in 3 people admitted to not using soap and 1 in 5 people dont always wash their hands after using restroom facilities.

Mobile phones have been shown to be dirty and have high levels of bacteria, which indicate poor personal hygiene, and act as a breeding ground for other bugs, according to the UK's Health Protection Agency.

The research also found that 1 in 10 people said they never or only sometimes washed their hands while people admitted to reading a newspaper or magazine (48 percent), cleaning their teeth, drinking and eating when on the toilet.

"We believe it is vital to make people aware of the importance of good hand hygiene when visiting the toilet," says John Nuttall, managing director of the Co-operative Pharmacy. "In the UK, the new trend of using smart and mobile phones in addition to laptops on the toilet is inadvertently raising the risk of the spread of infections, which affect hundreds of thousands of people. The symptoms are very unpleasant for most people and, in some circumstances, can be fatal."

Dr. Paul Cleary, an epidemiologist with the Health Protection Agency, notes, "Handwashing is important at all times, but particularly after going to the toilet, before and after preparing food and before eating.Thorough handwashing with soap and water is the best protection against C. difficile and viral infections, such as the common cold, flu and norovirus. It also reduces the chances of cross-contamination when preparing food and therefore affords some protection against food-borne infections, such as salmonella and campylobacter."

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