Mobile phones spreading infections in hospitals- Research says

It’s the era of cellphone addiction. Wherever you go, no matter what place it is, there is always someone glued to his mobile. Proponents of technology would argue that cellular networks have made our lives easier. As for most of them, you get to hear one thing in return, “We don’t live in the stone age anymore.” For certainly we don’t. However, that does not mean at all to overlook all the potential side effects that may come associated with excessive use of cellular phones.

The purpose of writing this is not to bring in discussion the side effects of mobile phones. In a way, yes, this article will focus on what this technology is doing to human health. What really needs to be considered at this point is how mobile phones are becoming a big source of germs in hospitals.

You heard it right. It is though ironic at the same time. A hospital, a place where someone would possibly go for treatment are now inflicting the patients with further infections. There can be numerous causes for that. Research, however, has revealed that mobile phones are one big source. It is like a trojan horse. A device fits in your pocket full of germs that you carry alongside with you!

Hospital & Technology

Now the focus of most hospitals in the US is to shift towards modern instruments. The owner aims at converting the place into an advanced unit making best use of all available technology. The receipt and payment procedure is carried on iPads, touchscreens etc. Needless to say, every doctor, nurse, the visitor has a mobile phone in his/her pocket. To the extent that you can not rule out mobile phones from anyone’s life at any time. Even now the medical reports are just one click away.

All of this looks fancy and attractive. Yet there is a dark side attached which you shouldn’t sideline. Excessive use of phones can provide the germs with a medium to transfer from one body to another.

Can Mobile Phones Transmit Infections?

The research is ongoing. According to a number of studies, it is widely believed that mobile phones can be one potential source.

It is important to understand the limitations of the research. Although scientists are collecting sufficient pieces of evidence, there are always considerable impediments to overcome. It can be utterly difficult to accurately trace the exact cause of any infection. There are literally countless things that a person is exposed to in a hospital or anywhere else. You never know which thing, in particular, can become a contributor.

One way to look at the relationship between mobile phones and infection transmission is to consider the statistics. The introduction of iPhones and iPads are considered to be the benchmarks. As per 2007, the launch of these two gadgets drove the usage of cellular phones/tablets worldwide.

Now whether this increase in usage can be linked with a higher number of infections remains to be seen. According to a few studies, there remains a linkage. The number of patients who were inflicted with any transmitted infections rose from 2007 onwards.

The question that subsequently arises: has this entirely been the case because of mobile phones? Maybe and maybe not. The gist of the discussion is that either way more research is needed to arrive at a more comprehensive conclusion.

Results of Other Studies

Case 1

We ended our discussion of the previous paragraph by stating that more research is needed for a stronger conclusion. Thankfully, for some other studies available, we can ponder over this entire debate in more details. A cohesive example to consider in that regard is of a recent investigation carried out by a team of local researchers.

They examined whether the popularity of mobile phones within the doctor community become a source of transmission. The purpose of the study remained to examine the frequency of bacterial transmission on the cellphones.

Mobile phones of around 6 to 7 orthopedic surgeons were collected and tested for the presence of bacteria. In the initial case, 5 of these mobile phones had some sort of collection of pathogens. After they were disinfected, the results were documented again. It was found that an approximate 8% of the harmful bacteria retained their property. Over a span of two weeks, the bacteria had started to accumulate again on the devices.

Note that in the above study conducted, all of the orthopedic surgeons had regular visits to the operation theatre.

Case 2

Case 1 examined the mobile phones that belonged to the doctors. Nevertheless, the results were startling and eye-opening. Doctors should make special consideration when operating as to minimize the risk of infections spreading.

Case 2 documents the results of cellular devices that belong to the visitors to the hospital as well as other staff. For the purpose of the study, visitors excluded patients who were admitted to the hospital. The group mainly comprised of relatives, friends or any other person who accompanied the patient. Mobile phones were collected and tested for the presence of pathogens. 105 devices were taken in total.

Almost 90% of the phones had bacterial deposits. The bacteria were present either on the sides, cover or on the screen. Some mobile phones had excessive deposition than others. To make the matters worse, only a few (less than 10%) sterilized their phone. 40% of the population wasn’t even aware of anything like mobile phone sterilization.

All of this suggests that cellular devices can be a source of bacteria transmission. They can cause serious complications within the body and can easily transfer from one medium to the other. The next thing we will focus is on how to ensure “digital hygiene” standards.

How to make sure of digital hygiene?

The entire discussion above paints a rather very unfortunate picture. More so than ever making it important to look out for ways to overcome the problem in its entirety.

The initial step in that regard is to acknowledge that the problem exists in the first place. All the subsequent steps are built upon the realization that the problem is present which demands viable solutions.

  • Start sterilizing your phones to get rid of any sort of pathogens that might be present.
  • Use a sanitizing wipe to clean off the entire surface before usage.
  • Do not expose the surface to other people.
  • Try wearing gloves when using it so any contact made in the hospital does not cause any significant harm.
  • Doctors and hospital staff should make use of paperwork rather than shifting operations digital.

Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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