Cellphone users at higher risk of flu, diarrhoea, eye ailments

Washington: Your mobile phone can put you at a greater risk of various diseases as the device acts as dangerous breeding ground for bacteria, a new study has found.

Doctors have warned that the combination of a cellphone`s close proximity to your ears, nose and mouth with its bacteria-loving warmth, means people are exposing themselves to germs that are harmful to their health.

Tests have found that cellphones typically carry as many germs as the handle of a bathroom door. Common illnesses that can be caught include the flu, diarrhoea and eye infections.

The study points to a lack of proper hygiene and adequate hand-washing by cellphone users.

The type of germs found on your cellphone can also be found on other everyday devices including computers, keys, pens and landline phones.

However, the risks are greater from cellphone usage because people are attached to them and take them everywhere including the bed, the treadmill at the gym and restaurants.

Mobile phones carry an abnormally high number of coliforms, a bacteria indicating fecal contamination.

Of the eight phones tested by HML Labs of Muncie, there were between about 2,700 and 4,200 units of coliform bacteria.

In drinking water, the limit is less than one unit per 100 ml of water.

For some of the bacteria, you only need to ingest as few as 10 organisms to get sick.

"We`re feeding the little creatures," Michael Schmidt, a professor and vice chairman of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina told the Wall Street Journal.

"We`ve all seen that greasy smear [on the touch screen]. Where there is grease, there are bugs," he told the paper.


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