Have you touched an electronic screen recently?

“Cleaning surfaces used by others is worth talking about every day. We know about public telephone and TV remote controls in hotel rooms. Public bathroom door handles are considered a possible culprit by most of us.  It is easy to overlook computer touch screens. These are becoming more important because they are omnipresent in modern urban living. When getting your boarding pass, you may touch the kiosk at the airline check in. Here is advice from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness newsletter.” Bill Chesnut, MD

Have you touched an electronic screen recently? Wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs and stay healthy! 

You knew that communal keyboards were germy — well, that iPad in your doctor’s office or grandchild’s classroom may be just as bad. Researchers have found that shared computer keyboards (such as an airport check-in kiosk), ATM machines, and other public touch screens are all pretty icky when it comes to germs (think methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, aka MRSA). Companies are at work developing antimicrobial touch screens to help minimize this problem, and you can always wipe things down with rubbing alcohol to kill bacteria, but this is a reminder that there’s no substitute for regular, thorough hand washing. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend washing hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds at these times to prevent the spread of illness:

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching animals, animal feed or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

And we’d add to that list: After using a communal keyboard or touch screen. 

Keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) in your pocket for personal use is a great way to be ready for anything and fend off illness at the same time.