New Delhi: Amid the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has infected 73 people in India and killed more than 4,500 individuals globally, doctors have advised that in addition to regularly washing hands, one should also disinfect their smartphone every 90 minutes with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Ravi Shekhar Jha, Head of Department at Fortis Escorts Hospital in Faridabad said the best method to disinfect your smartphone is to use regular doctor spirit or the alcohol-based hand sanitizer at least every 90 minutes.
"Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. The best option is to use a phone cover or a Bluetooth device and try to touch your phone as less as possible. We would also recommend cleaning your phone at least twice a day," Jha told IANS.
According to research, published in 2018 by Insurance2Go, a gadget insurance provider, revealed that smartphone screens have three times more germs than a toilet seat.
One in 20 smartphone users was found to clean their phones less than every six months, said the study.
"In the time of fear of coronavirus, smartphones should also be disinfected with alcohol-based sanitizer rub. Pour few drops of sanitizer on a tiny clean cotton pad and rub it safely on your entire phone," said Jyoti Mutta, Senior Consultant, Microbiology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in New Delhi.
"You can repeat this process every evening coming back home after an entire day out at work and once in the morning before going out," Mutta added.
"Maintain basic cleanliness, and try to avoid using other's phones especially if suffering from respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms as there is no other way to disinfect these regular gadgets," she stressed.
Another study from the University of Surrey in the UK, also found that the home button on your smartphone may be harbouring millions of bacteria - some even harmful.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus as a global pandemic on Wednesday. The death toll of COVID-19 has crossed the 4,500 marks and confirmed cases globally have touched one lakh as per the reports.
According to Suranjeet Chatterjee, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine Department of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi, "We should frequently wash our hands, cover our coughs and it is important to adapt to other good hygiene habits that are most important in such a situation."
"Coronavirus and other germs can live on surfaces like glass, metal or plastics and phones are bacteria-ridden. It is necessary that we sanitize our hands frequently and make sure that our hands are clean all the time," Chatterjee told IANS.
"The emphasis should be laid on sanitising our hands rather than sanitizing the phone - once in a while the phone can be sanitized under the guidance of the makers of the phone," Chatterjee stressed.
According to the global health agency, the most effective way to protect yourself against coronavirus is by frequently cleaning of your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.
The WHO's report showed the virus infects people of all ages, among which older people and those with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of getting infected.
People should eat only well-cooked food, avoid spitting in public, and avoid close contact, the WHO said, adding that it is important for people to seek medical care at the earliest if they become sick.