Cell phones can add an amazing dimension to healthcare. Whereas patient used to tell me about a rash that’s now gone, now a savvy patient can snap a picture from their cell phone that I can use to make a diagnosis. Patients can keep track of blood sugars, blood pressures, activity levels, migraine attacks, sleep, etc on their cell phones. They are social tools, their with you at every outing, capturing awesome pictures and updating your social media.
They are filthy. Literally.
In a study, cultures from cell phones were found to grow Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphlococcus aureus, Enterococcus feacalis, and Bacillius¹
Just for kicks and giggle:
Escherichia coli and Enterococcus feacalis are coliform bacteria…yep….they’re in your poop.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes serious skin and blood stream infections.
Its for this reason that:
If I’m seeing you as a patient in the clinic, I will do everything possible not to handle your phone.
Before I touch your cell phone, I will wear gloves as if handling any other bodily fluid.
Keeping your phone clean:
Some studies show that a case on your cell phone can reduce the amount of bacteria.
You can reduce the amount of bacterial contamination by wiping the phone down with diluted rubbing alcohol.
I personally use commercially available eyeglass cleaner wipes once or twice a day.
While patients are not suprised to see me put on gloves for a variety of reasons, I’m now gloving up to touch your personal electronics.
Thanks for reading! I appreciate all the readers that stop by an spend a few minutes here.
- Akinyemi, K. O., Atapu, A. D., Adetona, O. O., & Coker, A. O. (2009). The potential role of mobile phones in the spread of bacterial infections. The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries,3(08). doi:10.3855/jidc.556