A recent study has revealed that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can survive on the surfaces of smartphones for up to 96 hours.
People around the world are self-isolating, washing their hands frequently, and, in many countries, wearing masks whenever they have to venture out of their homes to help stem the tide of COVID-19. But many people are overlooking an item that they use every day that could unwittingly bring them into contact with the virus.
In a study published by Rudra Channappanavar, an immunologist from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, it was determined that smartphone screens can “host” the COVID-19 virus for up to four days depending on the temperature.
More and more people are turning to their mobile devices for communication and entertainment while in self-isolation, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Many are also following the WHO’s recommendation of frequent hand washing. However, it also most likely that people go straight for their phones after washing their hands.
Reducing hand-to-face contact
A study by research firm Dscout said the average person touches his or her phone for over 2,600 times a day. This is according to an experiment involving 94 people, the research firm said.
Dscout’s study further revealed that a person touches his or her face 368 times per day on average. That rate is alarming knowing that the coronavirus can easily travel from the hand to the face upon contact.
Keeping smartphones clean
One method of keeping a smartphone clean is by using an alcohol-based solution, but you need to immediately wipe the screen with a clean microfiber cloth. The reason why it needs to be wiped immediately is that strong disinfectants tend to eat through the display’s outer coating. The coating prevents fingerprints and smudges.
For Apple smartphones, the manufacturer has claimed that its products can be disinfected with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution. There are also available disinfectant wipes that can be used. Apple has added too much wiping of the device’s display may lead to minor abrasions or may totally damage the screen.
The most common misconception is that using soap may help in cleaning electronic devices. However, soaps are mild abrasives that may destroy the coating of the device.
There is also a portable UV light available. Using UV light is reportedly able to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria. But UV light’s ability to totally eradicate the COVID-19 is not yet proven. Portable UV lights area can be as small as a pencil case and it can be rechargeable or battery-powered.
The most surefire way of preventing the virus is by consistent hand wash. Just make sure that it is more than 20 seconds and all areas of the hand are properly soaped, including the wrists.