Coronavirus: is the smartphone really a vector of transmission of the Covid-19?
The smartphone has become a mainstay of our daily life, to the point where it has become difficult to part with it. Is it therefore necessary to clean it during this period of strict quarantine? Doctors answered our questions.
While the Covid-19 epidemic is well established in France, it is more important than ever to step up precautionary measures. Confining yourself, limiting movement and cleaning your hands regularly are the most common practices. But what to do with its electronic equipment, and more specifically with the smartphone? According to some studies, more than 7,000 different bacteria can be found on our touch screens , and we touch them about 100 times a day … So should we spend our time cleaning the smartphone? We interviewed doctors to find out more about the instructions.
The smartphone, a low-risk device
For Julien Béguec, doctor at the La Rochelle hospital center, it is first of all important to “remember that the smartphone is a personal tool. We keep it close to us. By its nature, it remains within the security perimeter and is, in a way, an appendage to the human body. As such, the risks of being exposed to someone with the virus are low. This is much less risky equipment than a remote control, for example, which will be operated by all members of the household. What will be problematic is precisely if the smartphone comes into contact with someone outside, to sign a document or watch a video for example. It will then be necessary to take precautions. When you think you have made a risky gesture,
Clean it, yes, without turning to psychosis
And to specify: “For the moment, we have no proof of an inter-human transmission by interposed surface. We know that the virus can remain alive for several hours or even days on certain inert surfaces [( up to three days on plastic, note ] , but we are not sure that this is enough to transmit it from human to human. For the moment, the transmissions mainly studied pass through the macro-droplets of the respiratory system. But that is not a reason not to take precaution. ”
“We don’t know everything about the Covid-19 yet,” adds Elodie Delaprune, a general practitioner in the Lyon region. Many scenarios of contamination are possible. Imagine that we touch a surface where the virus is present, then our smartphone. The mobile becomes contaminated. Then just take it in your hands before touching your face to facilitate contamination ”.
“If we want to reach zero risk, we must be very careful before handling our terminals , continues Julien Béguec, who insists that this must not turn into psychosis: “ It must not become a phobia. If you keep it in your pocket without touching it when you go out and wash your hands regularly, you minimize the risk. ”
Alcohol at 70 ° effective
To clean a smartphone, Julien Beguec recommends using alcohol at 70 or 90 °. According to him, it is the most effective method. “This is the method that hygienists validate , reports the doctor. It should however be known that the hydroalcoholic gel is not really effective on inert surfaces, in particular because of its composition which incorporates glycerol. The local chemical reaction is not optimal, there will not be destruction of the virus on the surfaces. The hygienists, on the other hand, validate the use of alcohol at 70 or 90 °. ” To learn more about cleaning methods, do not hesitate to consult the websites of manufacturers , Apple for example , which provide very clear tutorials on the methods to follow.
As for the number of times you have to wash your smartphone, the numbers can be extremely variable. “It largely depends on the use , says Elodie Delaprune, a doctor in the Lyon region. The simplest rule would be to wash the smartphone if it has been used after touching an object that may be contaminated. If we make a call, we should think about washing the phone before. If it hasn’t been washed all day, it should be done at least once a day. ”
“Don’t touch your face anymore, rather than cleaning your smartphone”
However, precaution remains in order. “More than cleaning your smartphone, I especially advise you not to touch your face ,” says Elodie Delaprune. Without realizing it, we touch it dozens of times a day [around 20x / h according to some studies, note]. To scratch your nose, put your wick behind your ear, etc. So if we touch our faces, we have to wash our hands first. If you’re like me, someone who works and walks your phone outside the home, you have to wash it before you make a call, for example ” . The best is of course to go out without your smartphone, and even not to go out at all.