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How cleaning your phone can actually prevent the spread of COVID-19

Helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself, your friends, your family, and others safe and healthy. What we’re learning about the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is that small and relatively simple steps can be taken to effectively control that spread. Properly cleaning your mobile phone is one of the most essential of these steps.

How mobile phones spread germs

Because modern phones are carried with us everywhere we go and because they utilize haptic controls—that is, touch screens—they are highly prone to pick up and retain germs and other microbes that their users carry on their hands. Some public health professionals even refer to our phone as our “third hand” for this reason. A 2017 study released by the National Institutes of Health found that mobile phones can carry up to approximately 25,000 bacteria per square inch of surface area. That means your phone could have at least 10 times more germs than a toilet seat. Even worse, because the phone battery keeps it warm and because we typically keep batteries in dark, warm places—like pockets or pocketbooks—the phone is an ideal environment for most bacteria and germs to proliferate.

What makes the mobile phone a particularly dynamic vector for the transfer of disease is not just the presence of those germs, of course, but the fact that we then often place our phones directly on or near our face. The nose and mouth are the number one entry point into our body for most viruses and bacteria. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19, for example, is carried by respiratory droplets spread from an infected person and which can survive on surfaces such as the glass, metal, and plastic used in phone construction for up to days if not properly cleaned.

For all these reasons, cleaning your phone properly is one way to help prevent the spread of the disease.

How to combat the spread of COVID-19

The only way that we will control the spread of COVID-19 is by working together to implement a few simple, but important, practices. Everyone has a responsibility to educate themselves about these practices, as well as about how the disease spreads.

1. Avoid people you know are sick or suspect might be sick, and if you are sick, self-quarantine for 14 days at least.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds if you have been in public or after blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing. Also effective is a hand sanitizer that contains a solution of at least 60% alcohol.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands or an unsanitized phone.
4. Maintain a minimum of six feet—or two arms’ length—distance from other people, even if they do not display symptoms of the disease.
5. Fully cover your mouth and nose with a mask or other face cover when you are near other people, even if you do not display symptoms of the disease. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow if you cough or sneeze.
6. Monitor your health daily and familiarize yourself with the symptoms of COVID-19.
7. Clean and disinfect surfaces in your household in accordance with CDC guidelines on how to neutralize and kill the virus on various surfaces.
8. Clean and disinfect your mobile phone on at least a daily basis, ideally with a UV-C phone sanitizer.

What is UV-C Light and How Does it Kill Germs, Viruses, and Bacteria

UV-C light is a form of light that falls on the electromagnetic spectrum between visible light and X-rays. All ultraviolet light is within the wavelength range of 100nm to 400nm, but within this range there are several subcategories of UV light. UV-C, specifically, falls in the precise range of 200nm to 280nm. While the sun does produce UV-C, along with other subcategories of UV light, none of the UV-C light in sunlight reaches the planet’s surface. For that reason, any UV-C that can be used in applications or technologies must be generated.

Those applications and technologies that use UV-C light are often found in medical-grade disinfecting processes. This is because the radiation generated by light in the 200nm to 280nm range is readily absorbed by the DNA, RNA, and proteins in germs, bacteria, and viruses. This absorption produces the compound thymine dimers, which breaks apart the organism’s DNA or RNA double helix. This prevents the cell from replicating, disrupting and ultimately stopping spread of the disease.

Scientists are looking now at how UV-C light can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In June 2020, for example, a study by scientists at Columbia University found that Far UV-C light, at 222nm, inactivates 99.9% of aerosolized coronaviruses, including several related to COVID-19.

While UV-C light cannot safely be used on humans to kill germs, it is highly effective when used on materials that might carry germs. This includes in hospitals on medical equipment and, of course, on phones.

Commercially available products like the SanniBox from Sannify are simple, fully-enclosed cases that use a UV-C light to eliminate 99.99% of household germs on phones or anything else that can fit in them, including remote controls and keys (both also major vectors for disease). Sannibox is even effective in destroying SARS-CoV, a coronavirus related to COVID-19.

Staying Safe with a Sannify

Cleaning your phone and other objects with a SanniBox is an easy and effective way to keep you and your family safe and healthy. Not only is it far more effective—and produces less waste—than using disinfectant wipes, it’s heatless, safe, and free of chemicals that can damage your phone over time.

The basic SanniBox completes a cycle in just six minutes and is portable. For larger objects, there’s the SanniBox Pro, which takes just three minutes, and the SanniBox Max, which has three different modes.
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