How to keep your smartphone germ-free

An increase in flu activity throughout the nation has everyone reaching for sanitary wipes.

But while you’re disinfecting your surroundings, don’t forget one of the things you touch the most — your smart phone.

Viruses like the flu can survive on inanimate objects, like phones, during flu season.

“These days, people take their phones with them everywhere they go, from the gym to the bathroom and then to the dinner table and even to bed. Throughout your day, you inevitably shake hands, touch doorknobs and staircase railings – and then you touch your phone and put it against your face,” AT&T spokeswoman Karen McAllister said.

AT&T offered tips to avoid getting the flu and to keep your phone virus-free:
  • Consider getting a flu shot.
  •  If you are sick and experiencing flu symptoms, do not share your phone with anyone. (Best to stay home to avoid infecting others.)
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • You can carefully wash your cell phone.  If you think it has been contaminated, disinfect your phone. Use a wrung-out disinfectant wipe or spray a paper towel
  • Use a Bluetooth device or other hands-free headset to minimize your keypad-to-face exposure.
  • Stop using your phone in a restroom.  Some things can wait!
AT&T also offered resources for staying safe from the flu:
  • See Influenza activity by county in Florida.
  • Flu Shot Locator helps you schedule a Flu vaccine in Florida.
  • You can also try Cold Sense, a free app that evaluates a user’s potential exposure to a cold and can tell the prevalence of coughs and sneezes around you, tracks hours of sleep and even “sick” friends in your social network.
  • Fitbits and other activity tracking wearable devices may be able to sense you have the flu before you do, since many can track changes in heart rate during exercise and rest, calories and fluids taken etc.

More: Increase in flu activity rises across nation, tips to avoid getting sick

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