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One overlooked way to stay healthy this flu season

During the peak of a frightening flu season, experts advise keeping phones clean.

Posted: Feb. 13, 2018 10:24 AM
Updated: Feb. 13, 2018 2:53 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - They're constantly in front of our face, yet many are not seeing them as a way for the flu to spread.

But a recent study by microbiologist Charles Gerba at University of Arizona finds the average smartphone has 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. 

"It just surprises me...because I think a toilets, like, super dirty," Alysia Vu, of Rochester, said. 

"It's kind of nasty but I can see it," Brian Nguyen, of Rochester, said. 

"I think we think about cleaning our toilet seats more than we think about cleaning our phones, so I can see it," Hannah Quarnstorm, of Rochester, said. 

Whether it's surprising or not, experts suggest taking precautions to keep a clean phone. Not only are people constantly touching phones, but they're often used next to the face during calls which could spread germs to the nose, mouth and ears. Many people said they are cleaning their phones regularly. 

"I clean my phone about once a week usually. I touch my phone, I touch other things, there's a lot of things on my phone that needs to not be there," Quarnstorm said. 

"Every time I clean my glasses or something I try to wipe my phone too, just to be like clean," Nguyen said. 

Here are some ways U.S. Cellular in Iowa suggests to clean a phone and stay healthy this flu season:

1. Disinfect devices and cases regularly with used disinfectant wipes. Using wipes that are not fresh from the bottle will help keep too much moisture away from the phone. 
2. They suggest cleaning a device's speakers, headphone jack, and charging port using an antibiotic putty. They say to avoid using a Q-tip for these hard to reach areas because it could leave behind cotton fibers and damage circuitry. 
3. U.S. Cellular in Iowa also says to avoid using devices in the bathroom which about 61% of people admitted doing in a recent Inc.com survey. 

Lastly, they encourage people to still wash hands regularly. They argue the cleaner hands are, the cleaner a phone is. 

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