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Nasty, germy news for touch-screen devices

With cold and flu season upon us, research shows that a cell phone has 18 times the amount of germs enjoyed by a toilet handle.

Now that people touch screens far more often than they touch each other, iPhones, iPads, and all the Droids and Nokias seem to have become the repositories of a huge number of nasties.

No, I am not referring to farting apps or movies with clothesless people. I am referring to those naked germs and viruses surely on so many people's minds as flu season starts.

The Sacramento Bee today offered vivid details that might make you look at the screen of your favorite gadget and wonder where it's been, as well as where you might choose to take it in the future.

And this wouldn't seem too healthy an idea either. CC Rojer/Flickr

It discussed a Stanford University study published earlier this year in the Journal of Applied Microbiology that showed that if you touch a screen, 30 percent of any virus that might happen to have taken up residence upon it will end up on your fingertips. And you know just how adventurous your fingertips can be. Soon, they may well transmit those minute gremlins to places that may not have sufficient defenses. Like Detroit in December.

Almost in passing, though, the Bee also offered a statistic that will upset power-lunchers the world over.

Apparently, a British study has shown that a cell phone has 18 times the amount of germs enjoyed by a toilet handle. While I am conscious that any object attracts mites that might cause illness, there is something slightly overwhelming about a cell phone being so much more diseased than a toilet handle.

Perhaps this is because toilet handles enjoy the regular benefits of cleaning by disinfectant, something most cell phones don't.

But this information should surely deter those who take their devices with them to catch up with the world where they used to freshen up with something analog.

Some might wonder whether the mere thought that your iPad or iPhone can make a toilet less hygienic is but another reminder that the fewer things we have, the healthier we will be.