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Living Well

Stop Carrying Your Mobile Phone To The Loo!

Oct 15, 2017

There is so much to do and so little time! You have to check your Instagram stories, Whatsapp messages, stroll through Facebook or even complete the next level of your game. So, your best friend in the loo is your phone. Who wants to waste 20 minutes where you basically are free, right?

So wrong! We always feel that our bathrooms are clean as we maintain regular hygiene. We wash and scrub them down every day or at least every alternate day. But what may look clean may not be clean.

Mobile phones have changed the way we poop, for the worse! There’s a good chance you’re reading this article in the loo. A recent study in the United States (involving 600 participants) recorded that 90% of people bring their phones into the loo.It might seem like you are doing clever multitasking. However, research says that you’re risking your health by taking your mobile devices (including tablets) with you to the loo.

Why Is It Dangerous To Carry Your Mobile Phone To The Loo?

Let’s look at a few reasons why you shouldn’t carry your mobile phone to the loo.

Transfer Of Bacteria And Germs

When you flush the toilet, water with faeces and urine sprays about six feet in every direction. So toilet roll holders, door handles or the flush lever, everything gets sprayed with this water. Your phone cover and cases are made of rubber, which is a warm and comfortable harbouring ground for bacteria. The water and air particles harbour in the little creases of the phone or any device you take. Think, that little camera lens, your speaker, the buttons on the side of the smartphone – all can be places where bacteria can reside and grow too. This is also applicable for mobile phones without covers or cases, as the bacteria will directly settle on your mobile phone screen. Transfer of bacteria can also happen if you don’t wash your hands before touching your mobile device, because toilet roll holders, door handles and the flush lever come in contact with the bacteria too. This bacteria includes salmonella, E.coli, shigella and campylobacter, and wherever germs go, you can be sure illness will follow. Norovirus is a very common cause of adult diarrhoea and it’s almost always linked to bad hand-washing.

Office Restrooms Are Even Worse

The risk of everything we’ve said earlier doubles or even triples when it comes to using a public loo. What’s worse is it’s not just your germs. Public washrooms, especially at your workplace, are used continuously by multiple people and not everyone is particular about hygiene. You may just be carrying your mobile phone in the loo and not use it, but even that is dangerous. Becuase you’re still holding it while you’re going in and out of the loo. And that’s enough to put bacteria on the phone when you haven’t yet washed your hands. You may think that washing your hands and maintaining hygiene is the solution. But that doesn’t work. Since you don’t wash your phone, the germs are still sitting on your phone screens and all nooks possible.

Germs Can Make Their Way Inside You

Now think about this, you use that same phone to browse through your Instagram or watch a YouTube video during lunch! So while eating, you are not only eating your food but also giving the germs an access point to enter your body. Many infections can be transmitted orally so this also increases the risk factor of getting sick from bacteria on your phone.

Risk Of Skin Breakouts Or Acne

Have you ever wondered why sometimes you break out or have pimples only on one side of your face? When the bacteria in the loo, which is faecal matter and urine, settles on your phone, they become a breeding hub. And then you use that same phone to talk, which allows that breeding hub to get in touch with your skin. Since your facial skin is delicate than most other parts of your body, it reacts faster. It not only breaks out but can also lead to rashes or other skin issues.

Risk Of A Swelling In The Anus

You thought only the germs and pathogens were creating problems for you? Your phone is a pocket-sized world of endless games, newsfeed, articles, and even books. So when you spend upwards of 30 to 40 minutes on the toilet seat, while getting sucked into your phone world, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on the rectum. This can lead to hemorrhoids (swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus.) This can also make any pre-existing hemorrhoids way worse. This can be seen in the research by Dr. Partha Nandi, the creator, and host of the Emmy-award winning, gastro-centric show, Ask Dr. Nandi. Ideally, you should get in and get out of the loo as quickly as your body tells you. According to Dr. Nandi, sitting in an awkward and uncomfortable position on the toilet can also aggravate any pre-existing problems with your nerves and hips.

Your Mental Health Is At Risk Too

You may also be putting your mental health at risk by carrying your phone in the loo. Everyone thinks that by replying to emails on the pot will help them stay ahead in the game, but that is not the right approach. Bowel movements are one way the mind takes a break. Before mobile phones, the loo used to be a place free of distraction and technology. Not anymore.  If you never let your brain relax, you’ll put your mental health under unnecessary stress.

How Long Does Your Mobile Device Stay Contaminated?

Germs could survive up to a couple of days on your phone. Because phones heat up while in use, they give germs the perfect environment to thrive. Of course, if you take your phone in the loo every day there is no timeline because you keep exposing it to germs time and again. If you use your phone while eating, it’s even more dangerous as your food can get transferred on your screen, allowing the germs to thrive even more.

Quick Tips To Avoid Taking Your Phone To The Loo

  • Don’t take the phone in the loo — as simple as that. Make loo a zone of peacefulness.
  • If you have to take your phone (if you’re waiting for an urgent call,) make sure it’s in your pocket so it isn’t exposed to germs.
  • Wipe down all your phone and tab screens with a disinfectant wipe at least once every week.
  • If the toilet has a lid, shut the lid before you flush so water doesn’t spray out and get stuck on the phone.
  • Maintain hygiene at all times. Especially pre & post loo breaks and also pre & post meals.
  • Make a solution with 60% water and 40% rubbing alcohol. Use a clean cloth to wipe down your phone or tablet screen with this solution.
  • Have a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes closeby if water and soap are inaccessible.
  • If you are too bored, take a newspaper with you. Newspapers get disposed regularly and you’re not carrying them with you at all times.

To conclude, carrying your phone to the loo is a risky proposition. Beyond the health risks, there is also a danger of dropping your phone in the loo. Every year, we see a lot of phones getting caught up in the flush or being smashed on the bathroom floor. It’s quite a huge price to pay to see a YouTube video or check out social media!

If you want to stay healthy and infection-free here is a simple mantra: When it’s time to go, it’s time to let the phone go!

Apoorva Pagar
Apoorva is a health & well being enthusiast who believes in eating fresh and eating right. She's an obsessive dancer who also enjoys an occasional yoga and boot-camp class. She is willing to spend hours hunting down a healthy but delicious smoothie!