Use your phone in the toilet? A doctor says it's dirty

IF YOU plan to flush the toilet after reading this, you might be in the wrong place.

Flights can be booked, news absorbed or music played on a hand-held mobile phone, tablet or even laptop - but do you really need to use them on the toilet?

An expert from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health thinks you probably shouldn't.

Dr Martyn Kirk said his initial reaction was "yuck" if he heard someone in a cubicle talking on the phone.

"I think it's just disgusting," he said.

But the health risks are real.

"Any place where people are touching their bodies, then an inanimate object, with their hands without washing - they are potentially transferring bacteria or viruses to the objects," Dr Kirk said.

"The key concern would be bacteria and viruses that cause gastroenteritis - vomiting and diarrhoea."

For those with a cold or flu, an unclean phone means they could be sharing the virus with friends.

Dr Kirk said he was not aware of key research in the field, but British magazine Which published results after swabbing 30 mobile phones in 2010, finding some carried more than 170 times the safe levels of certain bacteria.

Dr Kirk said he thought mobile phones hygiene risks were on par with handling money.

He said the most likely danger was that someone who used a phone on the toilet may not be the most hygienic person in other ways.

"I don't know for sure but maybe it's an indicator," he said.

And for those older readers enjoying the silliness of their tech-obsessed juniors - these points probably apply to reading a newspaper in the bathroom as well.


Want to keep your phone clean? Vodafone has some tips:

Use a soft cloth with cleaner - ideally one designed for phones.

A moist cotton bud will clean between keys

Do not use glass cleaners or products with ammonia.

Do not spray anything on to your phone

Follow cleaning instructions from your phone's manufacturer.

Topics:  editors picks health hygiene mobile phones sickness

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