Stop taking your gadgets into the bathroom. Here's why

There are two groups of people: those who use their smartphones or tablets in the bathroom, and those lying about using smartphones and tablets in the bathroom.

Admit it: you have used your gadgets while brushing your teeth, before or after a shower, or — ahem — biding your time during other important bathroom-friendly functions.

According to a 2015 survey conducted by Verizon Wireless, nearly 90% of people use their phone in the bathroom. Meanwhile, a separate survey last year from Sony and British wireless company O2 revealed three-quarters of men and women use their phone while on the toilet.

Here's why you need to flush this habit out of your system:

There's a lot of water in there.

Bathtubs, sinks, and toilets don't just assist in your daily hygiene routines. They are smartphone death traps. Just ask any one who accidentally drops their phone in the sink or toilet. More smartphone makers have stepped up water resistance on their devices, allowing them to survive brief dips under water. But if your phone isn't water-resistant, waiting for your phone to drip dry in hopes it might work is not fun. Plus, do you really want to reach into the toilet for your phone?

All those germs.

Yes, your smartphone likely carries more germs than a toilet. A 2011 study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found one out of every six smartphones contained fecal matter. Gross. 

Jason Tetro, visiting scientist at Ontario, Canada's University of Guelph and author of The Germ Files, says any microbes you can touch can also end up on your smartphone.

"You've got to think of your mobile devices as an extension of yourself," said Tetro. "Anything your cell phone touches, imagine that's your hands."

Of course, you can always wash your hands with soap and water. For smartphones, Tetro suggests using wipes made for electronics to disinfect your phone. 

In some cases, it's dangerous.

In Texas, a teenage girl died from electrocution when she was using her smartphone in the bathtub while it was charging. Similar reports have surfaced in recent years of deaths tied to users electrocuted by a plugged-in smartphone.  Although these incidents appear to be rare, it's still worth a reminder to avoid any charging electronics while taking a bath.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests installing ground fault circuit interrupters in bathrooms and kitchens. They’re the outlets that feature Reset and Test buttons on the front. The device can detect the slightest changes in electrical current and are intended to protect people from severe electrical shocks.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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