Cell phones can help spread flu and germs, say studies

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on October 20, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:45 AM

SEATTLE – Two new studies claim mobile phones are saturated in germs and can even spread the flu and other illnesses.

What did we ever do before them? Cell phones and smart phones are our everything. They're our maps, our pens, our paper, our portable lifelines. So when we broke the news this morning, it was a real wake up call.

But then we started checking around. We asked University of Washington Environmental Health Professor Marilyn Roberts if the studies scared her.

"No," she said flatly, "because germs are everywhere, there's bacteria everywhere."

Roberts, who specializes in dangerous germs like the MRSA virus, doesn't get excited about the most of the bacteria that shows up on phones or computers or most other gadgets. She says the vast majority of bacteria is our friend. It helps us process our food and even fights off a lot of dangerous germs. 

Roberts says it's not so much the cell phones that cause the problems. It's our hands. She says she has never used disinfectant wipes on her phone and doesn't plan to, but says she always washes her hands several times a day.

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