Ever since mobile devices became the primary mode of contact for people, it seems no boundary exists to separate hand and cell phone. This includes the bathroom. Despite it being a mostly solitary endeavor, many are using it as an opportunity to multi-task—checking and responding to emails, scrolling through friends’ photos on social media, and even responding to texts or talking on the phone. But, according to research, this isn’t just objectionable behavior. It’s actually dangerous!
MetroUK asked three researchers to weigh in on the dangers of taking a phone into the bathroom, and they concluded that you could be exposing yourself and others to germs like salmonella, E. coli, and C. difficile. This could happen when you wipe yourself, touch the flush handle or door lock and then touch the phone prior to washing your hands. Or, of course, without washing your hands at all. These are the 8 places you should never, ever touch in public bathrooms.
If you’re alarmed by the possibility of contracting such germs, but desperate to stick to your habit of relieving yourself with cell phone in tow, then you’ll be glad to know there are ways you can lower your risk.
“Read the book or phone in your right hand, then transfer it to the left,” hygiene expert Dr. Lisa Ackerley explains to MetroUK. “Wipe with your right, flush with the right, carry the book or phone out in your left hand without touching anything else and then wash your hands.”
She goes onto say, “If you wipe your bum then pick up your phone, you may as well not bother washing your hands because all the bacteria you put on your phone will end up back on your hands.” Read up on the 22 germiest things in your home.
Still a bit perturbed on the matter? Dr. Ron Cutler, director of biomedical science degrees at Queen Mary’s University London, is with you. “Basically, you just shouldn’t (take your phone into the toilet) if you are at all concerned about the transfer of viruses and fecal contamination.” Next, make sure you know these 11 other things you should never keep in your bathroom.