Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023

Scientists issue health warning to anyone who wears a smartwatch

If you’re a smartwatch wearer, you might be harbouring harmful germs that could get you very sick.

A study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University found that 95% of 20 different smartwatch wristbands tested were contaminated with bacteria capable of causing disease.

By analysing different types of wristband materials, researchers found that rubber and plastic bands had the most bacteria on them, while metal bands like gold and silver were virtually free from bacteria.

‘Plastic and rubber wristbands may provide a more appropriate environment for bacterial growth as porous and static surfaces tend to attract and be colonized by bacteria,’ said biological scientist Nwadiuto Esiobu from Florida Atlantic University.

The most common bacteria found were Staphylococcus, Enterobacteria (like Escherichia coli), and Pseudomonas. These bacteria can cause a variety of infections, including abscesses, pneumonia, and salmonella.

The researchers believe that the bacteria get onto the wristbands from the skin, sweat, and environment.

They also found that the type of activity the wearer engaged in affected the level of bacteria on the wristband. For example, wristbands from gym goers had the highest levels of staphylococcal bacteria.

Researchers warned that smartwatches could be a source of infection, especially for people with weakened immune systems.

They also recommend that people clean their wristbands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based disinfectant.

Our everyday tech gadgets might be the dirtiest things in our homes as we neglect to clean them.

Previous studies have shown that smartwatches are 30 times dirtier than toilet seats.

Another study suggested that the average smartphone screen is more than three times dirtier than a toilet seat.

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