You may think your smartwatch or fitness tracker is a harmless gadget that helps you monitor your health and activity, but a new study reveals a shocking truth: these devices are crawling with harmful bacteria that can make you sick or even kill you.
Researchers who tested various wearable tech devices, such as Apple Watches, Fitbits and others, found that 95% of them were infested with dangerous germs, such as E. coli, Staph and Pseudomonas, that thrive in the moist environment and can cause serious infections.
The devices were so dirty that they had an average of 30,000 bacteria per square cm — much more than the amount that can cause illness. The type of material did not matter much, although cloth and porous plastics were more favorable for bacteria growth than gold and silver.
The devices worn by fitness enthusiasts were the most contaminated, as sweat and dirt provided ideal conditions for bacteria. The study also warned that people with weak immune systems and health care workers were at higher risk of getting infected by these germs.
The good news is that there are simple ways to clean your devices and protect yourself from these bacteria. The study recommended using Lysol, 70% alcohol or vinegar to disinfect your devices regularly. However, many people are not aware of the hidden danger that these devices pose and do not clean them often enough.
The study also suggested that other items, such as phones and headphones, should be tested for bacteria as well. The study urged people to be more aware of the hygiene of their devices and to adopt clean habits to prevent infections and outbreaks.