Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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
  • 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

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results