Bacteria/Virus Invisible Threat To Life
Even though touchscreen technology is providing consumers with the convenience they want, it is undeniable that many touchscreens are dirty and unhygienic. Tests conducted by the Microbiology department at London Metropolitan University in 2018 found that touchscreens in McDonald’s restaurants in London and Birmingham all carried traces of feces. More often than not customers eat immediately after placing their order not stopping to wash off the germs they have just picked up.
Touch screens being wiped down frequently throughout the day cleaning is often not adequate and harmful bacteria can remain on touchscreen surfaces for days on end.
What kind of bacteria is on touch screens?
Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) naturally occurs in the stomach and intestines of healthy humans and other mammals. Commonly found on screens and in hospitals, E. faecalis is notorious for causing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Its presence on a touch screen is likely due to people not washing their hands after going to the bathroom.
Another bacterium frequently found on public touch screens is staphylococcus (staph). Staph infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individuals. Most of the time, these bacteria cause no problems or result in relatively minor skin infections. Treatment usually involves antibiotics; however; some strains of staph infections have become resistant to common antibiotics. As a result, these infections have become increasingly difficult to treat. Additionally, staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Symptoms come on quickly, often within hours of eating contaminated food and disappear just as quickly, usually lasting just half a day.
In addition to infection-causing bacteria viruses that cause colds and flu can spread from infected people to others not only through the air and close personal contact but through contact with a surface, like a touchscreen, that has respiratory viruses on it, then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
To sum it up many of the bacteria found on public touch screens can be very contagious. And while anyone can develop an infection, those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Encountering bacteria on objects touched by other people is inevitable. Fortunately, the solution is straightforward. Always wash your hands with soap or sanitize your hands after using a touchscreen, especially if you're about to eat.
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