Are you allergic to your phone? Study Suggests These Are Covered Allergens

Are you allergic to your phone?  Study Suggests These Are Covered Allergens

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A new study suggests that smartphones harbor environmental hazards like allergens and should be cleaned regularly. Eldad Carin/Stocksy
  • A new study suggests that smartphones are hosts to allergens like pet dander and fungus.
  • The researchers say that people with allergies or asthma should clean their phones regularly to minimize the risk of a serious reaction.
  • The researchers also noted some effective ways to clean your smartphone.

People touch their smartphones more than 2,600 times a day, according to a 2016 report. And if you’re susceptible to allergies or live with asthma, your smartphone could be making you sick.

That’s according to a new study presented this week in the Annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Louisville, KY.

Using simulated smartphone models, the study showed elevated levels of dog and cat allergens, as well as β-D glucans (BDG) and endotoxins. BDG is found in the cell walls of fungi, and endotoxins are bacterial toxins found in the environment.

“Smartphones showed elevated and variable levels of BDG and endotoxins, and dog and cat allergens were found on pet owners’ smartphones.” Hana Ruranhigh school senior from Hopkinton, MA, a research intern at Boston Children’s Hospital, and lead author of the study, in a Press release.

The researchers concluded that people with allergies or asthma should clean their smartphones frequently to reduce the risk of allergies or asthma triggers.

dr Payel Guptaa national volunteer medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association, told Healthline that allergens can be found everywhere, including hair, clothing and shoes, so it makes sense that they live on our smartphones, too.

Even dog and cat allergens, found in pet dander, can stick to any surface.

“If you touch your phone and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, allergens can enter your nasal or respiratory tract or the lining of your eyes,” Gupta said.

Additionally, allergens in the eyes or respiratory tract can trigger the release of histamine and cause allergy symptoms.

“Our phones go everywhere with us, we put them on all kinds of surfaces, [and] they accumulate all kinds of debris,” said Dr. William B. Miller, Jr.infectious disease expert, evolutionary biologist and author of “Bioverse: How the Cellular World Holds the Secrets to Life’s Biggest Questions”, he told Health Line.

While most allergens cannot be avoided, you can reduce the risk of allergy or asthma triggers by cleaning your smartphone.

To determine the efficacy of various cleaning agents in reducing BDG and endotoxins, the study used the following chemicals:

  • electrostatic wipes
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • Clorox no bleach
  • chlorhexidine
  • cetylpyridinium
  • Benzyl benzoate
  • tannic acid wipes

The researchers also designated a control group in which no cleaning solution was used.

according to a Press releaseThe researchers found that a combination of chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium was the most effective in reducing cat and dog allergens on smartphones.

But chemical compounds like these are not necessarily accessible. According to Gupta, simply removing your phone case, if you have one, and cleaning it with soap and water could probably do the trick.

“Soap and water would be hypoallergenic and leave no residue that could cause chemical irritations,” Gupta said.

When it comes to cleaning your phone, it’s a good idea to check your manufacturer’s manual for guidelines. For example, AppleCare recommends removing cables from your iPhone and turning it off before cleaning with a “soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth.”

You should also try to prevent moisture from getting into any openings or cracks.

Products to avoid when cleaning your smartphone

If you have an iPhone, Apple Care doesn’t recommend applying the following cleaning products directly to your device:

  • window cleaners
  • household cleaners
  • compressed air
  • aerosol sprays
  • solvents
  • ammonia
  • abrasives
  • cleaners containing hydrogen peroxide

There is no exact formula for how often you should clean your smartphone, but it might be a good idea to make it a regular habit.

“There’s no downside to cleaning a device you use regularly,” Miller said.

“Cleaning your phone to remove some allergens is a drop in the bucket of potential allergy triggers constantly surrounding you.”

If you live with allergies or asthma, you may want to clean your smartphone more often, as the researchers recommended.

According to Gupta, people with seasonal allergies are advised to clean more frequently to reduce the risk of triggers.

“As allergists, we recommend that people who have seasonal allergies remove their outdoor clothing and shoes when they come in from the outside,” Gupta said. “Allergens can also stick to your hair, so washing your hair at night before bed can help.”

If you’re allergic to dust mites, Gupta recommends cleaning your sheets once a week in hot water.

pet allergens

the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that 6 out of 10 people are exposed to cat or dog dander.

Gupta recommends keeping pets out of the bedroom if you’re allergic, which can reduce the amount of allergens you’re exposed to while you sleep, especially if you have your smartphone nearby.

the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends the following to reduce pet allergens in your home:

  • lock the bedroom doors
  • cover the vents with dense material
  • wash and change your pet’s furniture
  • clean toys often

A new study found that smartphones are a reservoir for common allergens, including pet dander, which can increase your risk of a reaction if you have allergies or asthma.

Cleaning items around the house, especially your smartphone, can help prevent allergy or asthma triggers, especially when done regularly.

A damp cloth is recommended over many common household cleaning products when cleaning your smartphone. You can try a diluted solution of water and alcohol, but you can refer to your phone’s manual for additional guidance.

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