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How do I sanitize my phone?

Experts say novel coronavirus can live on mobile devices for days.

Article Author: Johnny Woodhouse

Article Date:

Q&A graphic showing the letters along with a person holding a phone in their hands
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classify cellphones as “high-touch surfaces,” making them potential carriers of the virus.

Recent studies, including one released this week by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have found that the strain of virus that causes COVID-19 can possibly last for days on surfaces such as metal, glass and plastic.

Spoiler alert: Cellphones are made up of an array of materials, including - you guessed it - metal, glass and plastic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classify cellphones as "high-touch surfaces," making them potential carriers of the virus.

Recently, the CDC updated its website to clarify that the virus doesn't spread easily via surface transmission, adding that "may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it ... but this isn';t thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

Dawn Smith, DNP, system director of Safety and Clinical Quality for Baptist Health, said 80% of infectious diseases are spread through touch.

"High-touch surfaces like personal handheld mobile devices, including cellphones, tablets and laptops, are breeding grounds for bacteria and an ideal surface for virus transfer," Smith added. "It's just as important to keep these surfaces clean as it is for our hands to prevent the spread of infection."

How do I keep my phone and other devices clean?

Many major phone manufacturing companies and cell phone providers have posted tips online on how to properly clean your devices, including wiping them frequently with a soft, slightly damp lint-free cloth.

Additionally, don't share your phone with other people and don't take them into bathrooms. Keep your phone away from your face by using earbuds or Bluetooth technology.

Anti-static, disinfectant wipes with up to 70% isopropyl alcohol are safe to use on phone screens. According to the CDC household disinfectants registered by the Environmental Protection Agency are also effective.

But if you are not practicing good hand hygiene, cleaning your phone won't do you much good when it comes to countering COVID-19.

Like the saying goes, one hand washes the other.

For more information, visit baptistjax.com/covid19

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