As the number of cases of coronavirus infections passes the 200 mark in the UK, we are all being encouraged to take extra care with our personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.
Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds several times a day is the current government advice.
But a bad habit that over half of us share could undo all that good work.
According to a survey by marketing agency Jellybean, at least 54% of us take our mobile phones into the loo with us.
Scientists currently believe that COVID-19 can survive for nine hours or more on hard surfaces like plastic, metal, or the glass of your mobile phone screen.
So your phone represents a handy place for the virus to hang out while you’re washing your hands – only to transfer straight back onto your phone the next time you check Twitter, message someone on WhatsApp, or play Candy Crush.
Professor William Keevil, from the University of Southampton told Metro: “You could be washing your hands, but if you start touching your smartphone screen and then touch your face that is a potential route of infection.”
Dr Perpetua Emeagi, a lecturer in Human Biology and Biological Sciences at Liverpool Hope University, added that the virus can almost certainly last for quite a long time in your poo.
And so flushing with the seat up ‘aerosolises’ poo particles, creating an invisible cloud of bacteria, viruses and other nasties that could be propelled onto your phone, your clothes, and your skin.
She said: “It’s not just a case of what you’re transmitting from your hands to the phone. You also have to consider the effects of toilet flushing.
“When you flush the toilet, you release aerosol particles, which could be viruses or bacteria, she said. :Recent reports have suggested that COVID-19 can be spread through faeces. And so aerosolised particles of poo are a genuine risk when it comes to the spread of Coronavirus.’
The virus is becoming so widespread that it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid it altogether – no matter how many masks we wear – but by taking sensible precautions like giving up Facebook in the toilet you can slow it’s spread and cut down the chance of passing the infection on to vulnerable people such as the elderly or people with pre-existing medical conditions.