These days, we take our phones everywhere, afraid to miss even the slightest of updates. To school, to the park, to the grocery store, to the movies. And even to the bathroom. What better time is there to send that text or catch up on Facebook than when we’re sitting on the toilet?

If you do this, however, it’s time to stop! Though it may seem harmless whipping out the iPhone in the bathroom, it can actually be dangerous! Dr. Lisa Ackerly, a hygiene expert, claims that taking out your phone in the bathroom puts you at risk of catching germs like salmonella, E. coli, and C Diff.

She says that if you wipe your buttock, then immediately pick up your phone before washing your hands, you might as well not bother washing your hands at all. This is because all those germs will now live on your phone. And they can last for days!

dirty toilet in bathroom

Bacteria love warm surfaces and guess what? Your phone gets pretty toasty! This is how germs stay alive on your device for so long. Can you imagine holding your bacteria-ridden phone and then putting your fingers in your mouth or wiping your eyes? Gross!

And the same goes for your toothbrush. Dr. Ackerly warns never to place your toothbrush near a toilet or nearly shelf, because who knows what kind of germs could attach to it, then wind up in your mouth.

Likewise, never put your phone on a toilet paper roll or holder, which are both breeding grounds for bacteria. Also, sticky hands from sugary foods are a great way to attract bacteria, so make sure you always wash your hands with soap after eating sweets that stick.

Make sure to put the lid down before you flush the toilet, as germs and bacteria can easily spread through the air! In fact, they can travel about six feet from where they’re flushed, which is another reason why your toothbrush should be far away!

What are the kinds of bacteria you can get?

Salmonella is a type of food poisoning caused by eating contaminated foods. When you handle a bacteria-infested phone, you’re going to get all that bacteria on your food and possibly become very ill!

E. coli is an infection that forms from coming into contact with feces or stool from humans or animals. While most strands are harmless, some can cause severe anemia or kidney failure and lead to death.

C. Difficile is one of the most common germs found in a toilet. This bacteria causes symptoms ranging from diarrhea to deadly inflammation of the colon. According to the CDC, nearly 500,000 cases of C. difficile infections were reported in 2011, with almost 29,000 patients facing death after the first month of diagnosis.

So, the next time you feel the urge to use the bathroom, leave your cell phone in the other room or put it in your pocket or purse. Your Facebook updates or the latest celebrity gossip can wait a few minutes.

It’s better than catching E. Coli, right?

Check out the video below to learn more!

Mayo Clinic
Humann Health