News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Health & Fitness

January 23, 2013

Keep mobile devices protected during flu season

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control shows 47 states with widespread flu outbreak. In some states, more people are sick today than they have been in years past — and children can be infectious for more than 10 days.

According to WebMD.com, studies of how long significant amounts of flu germs can survive on surfaces vary. Estimates range from a few minutes up to 24 hours, depending on the type of surface. (It lives longest on hard surfaces.)

While covering your mouth and washing your hands remain the top ways to prevent the spread of flu, it doesn’t hurt to keep your gadgets clean.

 Here’s a quick tip list for avoiding the spread of illness this season via cell phones and other consumer electronics:

• Try not to share your cell phone or other accessories that come in contact with hands or mouth.

• Be sure to clean your devices regularly, especially if you’re using them in a school or office.

• Most alcohol wipes work on touch screen surfaces, but make sure to squeeze the excess liquid out before wiping a device so you don’t get any liquid inside its operating system.

• A simple air spray can be used to clear makeup or other debris from a QWERTY keyboard or traditional dial pad. Most air spray products that clean computer screens and keyboards can also be used for wireless phones.

• Remember to wash your hands or use anti-bacterial lotions after using public, office or school electronics, including charging cords that plug into the wall.

• And if you’re shopping, take advantage of anti-bacterial lotions that many retailers now provide for use on sales counters or near registers as purchases are made. (The flu is actually a virus and anti-bacterials don’t kill viruses, but it doesn’t hurt to keep hands clean of other potential bugs.)

If you’re concerned about manufacturer specifications for keeping products clean and in working order, you can check an online product manual list for 1,000 brands that include items like cell phones, game controllers, house phones, remote controls, keyboards, computer mice and GPS units.

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