Keep COVID-19 off your phone

SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials

How to effectively keep COVID-19 off your phone
A woman wearing a sanitary mask looks at her phone - Photo: Claudio Furlan/Lapresse via AP
English 11/07/2020 12:19 Mexico City Miranda Perea/EL UNIVERSAL in English & Newsroom/AP Actualizada 12:19

As the COVID-19 pandemic has surpassed over 12 million infections worldwide, there is still much to learn about the novel coronavirus that has had a tough impact in different economic and social sectors.

Only time will allow us to collect more information regarding SARS-CoV-2, however, this does not mean you cannot protect yourself and your loved ones from contracting the new disease for we can implement previous experience with the handling of viruses and pandemic that can be useful during the current one.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says transmission of the new virus that causes COVID-19 to persons from contaminated surfaces has not been documented and that it is much more commonly spread through respiratory droplets than through objects and surfaces.

Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Hence cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for the prevention of COVID-19.

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Of course, this applies to highly used objects such as phones, which have become an important part of daily life and which, in addition, are in contact with different surfaces that could contaminate them with bacteria and even more, the new coronavirus.

However, you must not panic for there are health measures you can implement to make sure your phone is free from COVID-19 while you keep using it every day.

Since COVID-19 can survive on phones and other “high-touch” surfaces, including keyboards and tablets, the CDC recommends a daily wipe down. A scientific test shows the virus can live on plastic or stainless steel for two to three days.

Keep in mind that cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing since they have different results and must be practiced according to the needs of each object.

According to the CDC cleaning with soap and water removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces and also lowers the risk of spreading infection.

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For its part, disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. By killing germs on a surface after cleaning it, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Hence, it is a good idea to practice both cleaning and disinfecting when it comes to being protected from COVID-19.

Moreover, it is best to clean visibly dirty surfaces prior to disinfection.

In order to clean your phone, you must first turn it off and unplug it from cables to prevent any accidents. Moreover, tech companies say you will want to avoid moisture inside the phone, so you must not put it into cleaning solutions or spray it directly with any substance.

An alternative is to gently use disinfectant wipes, like Clorox or Lysol wipes, or anything with 70% alcohol to clean your device. Phone carrier AT&T recommends wringing out disinfectant wipes before using them on a phone.

Papel towels can also do the work if you spray them with disinfectant. Additionally, Google says you can dip a cloth in soap and water to clean off your phone.

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Whichever product you choose to use to clean and disinfect your phone, as well as other surfaces, you must always follow the direction on the label for it will include safety information and application instructions. Moreover, always remember to keep disinfectants of the reach of children.

Lastly, the CDC adds that it is also best to wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. In case you use reusable gloves, make sure they are exclusively used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces for COVID-19 and never use them for other purposes. In addition, always make sure to thoroughly clean your hands after removing your gloves.