Health Advice



Is your phone dialing up disease?

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

You probably know that if you download a strange app or open attachments from emails or texts from an unknown sender, your phone may end up with a bug -- malicious malware that disrupts all kinds of functions. But are you aware that your phone can download a bug on to you?

Current research suggests that smartphones harbor a potentially harmful cocktail of bacteria, fungi and viruses. The analysis, published in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, looked at 56 studies from 24 countries. It found nearly all of them identified potential invaders on phones, while 16 reported the presence of fungi and others identified RNA viruses and bacteria such as S. aureus (it can cause staph infections) and E. coli. In fact, the lead researcher says phones are a "five-star hotels with premium heated spas [and a] free buffet for microbes to thrive on."

Although there was no research aimed at detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on phones, we know from other sources that the bug can live on plastic for up to three days! No wonder the researchers suggest you consider your phone a "third hand" and you sanitize it regularly.

We say it's smart to clean it with hand sanitizer or a sanitizing wipe after you use it outdoors or in the car; then wash your hands. Also, clean it after you put it down on any surface outside your home. Home all day? Clean it once a day. Then you'll have the kind of phone reception you want -- all clear.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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