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January 9th, 2014

How to germ-proof your devices

howto2_enQuestion of the week: Can I get a cold or the flu from my computer or smartphone?

Normally at avast! Antivirus we talk about keeping viruses out of your computer or smartphone, but you asked a question that is important to all of us – how to keep the virus out of you!

Dangerous bacteria is more common on our tech gadgets than on toilet seats, according to a handful of studies.

The London School of Hygiene in 2011 reported that 92 percent of the phones they tested in an experiment were contaminated with bacteria, and 18 percent came back positive for fecal bacteria (that’s from poop if you weren’t sure.)

James Francis, a microbiologist who carried out research for UK organization Which? in 2008, tested an iPad and found that it had 600 units of Staphylococcus aureus, which can lead to food poisoning (which leads to nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Ugh.)  This compared with the office toilet which had less than 20 units of Staphylococcus per swab.

He said, “A count of 600 on a plastic device of any sort is incredibly high. It indicates that some people don’t wash their hands a lot.”

Flu viruses can stay active on computer keyboards, mice, tablets, and smartphones for a couple of days, even though people have been conditioned to regularly use sanitizing wipes and sprays, said researchers at the University of Arizona.

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