Have you ever cleaned your phone? your keys or your bank card? After watching this story you may be reaching for the hand sanitizer and scrubbing your devices. It turns out some of the items we carry and use daily — are dirtier than a toilet seat. Healthcare professionals are stressing how important it is to not only keep your hands clean — but the devices your hands touch too.
Anne Bialachowski is the infection protection control manager at St. Joe’s: “People take their phones into some of the grossest places, like in the bathroom, then they wash their hands and forget to wash the phone.:
It’s world hand hygiene day in healthcare facilities around the world.
Anne says: “Well, there’s an emphasis around the world making sure that we’re preventing healthcare associated infections and hand hygiene plays a very important role.”
St. Joseph’s Healthcare used this day of awareness to show people just how dirty things can be that they touch regularly. Our reporter Cindy Csordas learned more than she wanted to when she decided to bring some items in to be tested by an adenosine triphosphate tester. Keep in mind, a measurement of 30 relative light units is a pass. We began with a device she use obsessively — her iPhone. The reading was 553!!!
Compare that reading to the toilet we swabbed which had 221 units of organic matter on it. Another very dirty item? This keyboard. It scored at 454. My keys? 212. Bank card? 124. Even the dishes brought from work that are supposed to be clean? The plate reading 54 and the mug, not too bad, 31. Hospital visitors had “their” phones tested too.
Jan: “So yours is 195. 30’s a pass. Oh oops.”
What do you figure is on your phone?: “Kid’s boogers, children’s dirty hands, my dirty hands, dirt.”
Pam Byrne: “I work in an office now where we literally have signs and I think it’s sad you have to remind people to wash their hands after they’ve been to the washroom.”
Here at St. Joes, they have 3,000 hand hygiene dispensers. According to hospital auditors, 94% of the time staff are cleaning their hands when they should be.
Bottom line if you keep both your devices and hands clean, it could help save lives.
While healthcare professionals stress the importance of keeping your devices and hands clean — they also say some exposure to bacteria is good. It can help to build up our immune systems.