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Is it possible to “self-infect” by touching your mobile phone?

The phone we touch the most during the day. Would he make all other hygiene measures unnecessary, such as hand washing? What is its role in the spread of the coronavirus? Didier Pittet, infectious disease specialist, answered these questions to France Info.

Greatly absent from the flagship hygiene measures in this period of the epidemic, the mobile phone is however the object that we handle the most on a daily basis. It also contains up to 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Could the coronavirus be there? Could we be contaminated by touching our smartphone? The Swiss infectiologist and epidemiologist Didier Pittet, interviewed by France Info, gave some explanations.

“A virus can survive on a phone as well as in the general environment,” he said, adding that “people will take samples from phones and will necessarily find viruses.” A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection reported that the coronavirus could survive up to nine days on surfaces such as metal, glass or plastic.

Follow hygiene measures

However, the specialist stresses that there is not yet “a study on the role of laptops in epidemics”, and that this kind of research is not the priority of the laboratories. According to him, it is theoretically possible to “self-contaminate” by touching your phone, then carrying your fingers in your mouth and nose, a gesture that many do without even realizing it.

He therefore recommends to follow all the more hygienic measures, namely washing hands, but also the telephone. Then try to avoid putting your hands to your face, which could make “an obvious difference in the spread of this virus.”

What product should I use to clean my phone?

“The same ones that are effective in disinfecting other surfaces, advises Didier Pittet, provided they are supported by the device.” For this, a small amount of hydroalcoholic gel, which this infectiologist invented the formula, on a microfiber fabric. Products specially designed for this purpose, such as those for cleaning glasses, are usually sold in supermarkets. Apple manufacturer advises wipes soaked in 70% alcohol.

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