Hospital Infections Fueled By Cell Phones?

June 2, 2011

Cell phones may bring MRSA to hospitals...

In the United States about 100,000 people die from hospital infections yearly (with almost two million infected). One of the main culprits is the bacteria methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Experts say that infection causing pathogens in hospitals can be reduced by about a third when proper hygiene practices are enforced. With this in mind, researchers in Turkey looked at the cell phones of 200 patients, visitors, and hospital staff. Expecting to find contagions on the staff’s phones, they instead found that visitor’s and patient’s phones were twice as likely to carry bacteria, including drug-resistant superbugs like MRSA.

Studies like this may help to reduce hospital infections by informing hygiene policies. To keep your phone clean, wipe it occasionally with a warm moist (not dripping) cloth; if you have a touchscreen you can wipe away smudges with a lens cloth sprayed lightly with lens spray or glass cleaner. Try and remove debris that may collect around keyboards, ports, and any other grooves.

Most hospitals already ban cell phone use for fear they’ll mess with machines (to see what they mean, set your cell phone next to a playing MP3 player, then have someone call you…you’ll hear a buzz). You may be able to help stop the spread of disease by keeping your phone in your pocket when visiting sick friends (if they’re in the hospital, chances are their immune system is already weak/susceptible!), washing your hands frequently in hospitals, and encouraging proper hygiene among those around you and with hospital staff.

With the increase of drug resistant bacteria like MRSA, antibiotics are at risk of being useless. Help stop this by preventing the spread of contagious diseases, using antibiotics responsibly, and spreading the word.

What other things should be looked into to stop the spread of drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: