Did you know that our body is home to trillions of bacteria? Yes, you read that right. There are both good and bad bacteria in our body, where due to the immune function in our body, the good bacteria far outnumber the bad bacteria. Our immune system protects us from harmful viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that can cause a variety of diseases and illnesses.
In other words, if the immune system does not function properly, harmful bacteria in our body will wreak havoc and cause diseases that can endanger not only your own life but also those around you. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Shobha Subramaniam Itolikar, Consultant-Internal Medicine at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, shared, According to a recent study conducted in Florida, we all carry harmful bacteria on our mobile phones and smartwatches and unknowingly. I spread them around. This may seem counterintuitive since smartwatches are also playing an important role in improving the fitness goals of individuals around the world. Since they can track vital health signals like heartbeat, stress levels and activity levels like daily steps, these gadgets are quite popular, especially among fitness enthusiasts.
Most of us wear wearable devices for long periods of time, from sunrise to sunset, he said. As a result, these wearables are exposed to sweat, dirt, and toilet pathogens, among other things. Since we do not clean watches regularly, they quickly become home to pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella (the infamous typhoid bacteria), Staphylococcus (the bacteria responsible for skin boils), Pseudomonas and Escherichia coli. The study further clarified that the number of bacteria found on these devices also depends on the type of wristband used. While rubber and plastic bands had the most bacteria, metal bands (especially gold and silver), on the other hand, were almost free of bacteria.
Dr. Shobha Subramaniam Itolikar elaborated, These infectious bacteria are dangerous as they can cause various invasive diseases, especially in immunocompromised individuals, such as children, older adults, diabetics, cancer patients, etc. Whereas the immunity of the smartwatch wearer can be strengthened. system, they may not be suffering from the disease themselves. Nevertheless, these individuals are at high risk of becoming unknowing carriers of diseases and transmitting these viruses/bacteria to people with weakened immune systems.
He gave some tips on how to care for your smartwatch to avoid bacteria colonization –
- Choose a watch that comes with a metallic wristband. It is best to avoid rubber and plastic bands.
- In the case of rubber and plastic bands, if you wear a smartwatch regularly, replace them with new ones from time to time, ideally every three months.
- It’s best to take off your smartwatch when going to the washroom.
- Make sure you remove your smartwatch when washing hands so that your hands are thoroughly cleaned even at the wrist.
- Clean your smartwatches regularly with alcohol-based wipes and dry them thoroughly before wearing.
- Make sure you clean the watch screen daily, while the band should be cleaned weekly.
- When cleaning, mainly pay attention to moving parts (such as bracelet links) and uneven areas.
It is important to raise awareness about the need to clean and disinfect wearable devices, especially those we use regularly. These small steps will go a long way in preventing the spread of diseases and pathogens that might otherwise become highly virulent and cause a lot of infection in the wider population.
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