Did You Know | Health

Experts Say Bringing Your Phone To The Bathroom May Be Making You Sick

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If you own a smartphone, chances are that you bring it with you to the bathroom sometimes.

Once upon a time, bathrooms had magazines to entertain you while you sat on the toilet, but nowadays, everyone surfs the internet.  

However, experts warn that this common habit could be endangering your health.

Believe it or not, the dirtiest thing in your home is not the toilet, it's your mobile phone.

When researchers measured the average dirtiness of a surface, using a tool known as an ATP meter, they found that a cell phone comes in at around 900, whereas a toilet seat comes in at around 200 on the ATP meter.

Keep in mind, an ATP reading of over 300 means the surface is at risk of spreading an illness.

Now you can imagine just how bad a reading of 900 is, but are you really surprised?

When you think about, we're always touching our phones, and we don't wash them as often as we wash our hands.

And even when we do wash our hands, we touch our contaminated phones right after, which might be the dirtiest surface you touch all day.

If you rarely clean your smartphone, it's probably birthing it's own bacteria by now!

MetroUK asked three scientists about the dangers of spending quality time with your phone in the bathroom, and what they had to say will definitely change your habits.  

sitting on toilet seat with phone
Do you think you can quit this nasty habit?Shared

Taking the phone to the bathroom exposes you to all sorts of germs, such as salmonella, E. Coli, and C. Difficile.

The reason why is because if you wipe yourself, touch the flush handle, or the door handle, and then you touch your phone right after, there's a big chance you're transferring nasty germs on your device.

And even if you do wash your hands, it's not like you're disinfecting the germs on your phone. When you flush the toilet, tiny droplets may land on your phone.

"Spray could travel around six feet from the flush," Hygiene expert Lisa Ackerley told Metro. "That's why you shouldn't leave your toothbrush close to the toilet. Theoretically, you could flush the toilet and tiny droplets could drift up and land on your phone, or on a surface your phone might touch."

If you thought things couldn't get any more gross, keep reading. These germs can survive on your phone for a couple days!

"Phones heat up a little bit giving bacteria a nice warm environment," Ron Cutler, director of biomedical science degrees at Queen Mary's University London, said.

"If people handle sweets and leave a sticky coating on the phone, that's an even better place for bacteria. The levels are, generally speaking, quite small. But you can contaminate your hands pretty badly without trying too hard."

Here's how to protect yourself:

Ackerley said there are ways you can enjoy the entertainment of your phone while in the bathroom, but it will take a conscious effort:

"Read the book or phone in your right hand, then transfer it to the left. 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. Be aware of what your hands are touching.

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. They might be your germs. They might be somebody else's from the flush."

That being said, I think it's safe to assume that the best way to protect yourself is to leave the phone in your bag or outside of the bathroom.

[H/T: MetroUK]

Are you guilty of taking your phone to the bathroom with you?

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.