Why the Nation’s Christmas Gadget Gifts – Including Smartphones – Could be Behind Post-Christmas Cold and Flu Cases

  • Doctors warn of ‘iFlu’ epidemic post-Christmas thanks to new mobile phones
  • Research reveals ‘The 12 Germs of Christmas’ which can be found lurking on the nation’s new smartphones
  • Pall Mall Medical offers top tips for keeping a touch-screen-devices sanitised

Doctors warn of an ‘iFlu’ epidemic this winter as research suggests, Brits are up to four times more likely to catch flu from using an iPhone than from sitting in the same room as someone who is infected with the virus.

The research by Pall Mall Medical reveals that the average handset is touched by 4.7 different people during a typical week.

Docs recommend that Brits clean their mobile phones daily and undertake a deeper clean weekly, along with committing to better hand hygiene in order to avoid spreading germs and keep dreaded winter viruses at bay.

Analysis of smartphones have found that the average device is home to 10 times as many germs as the typical toilet seat*, with phones belonging to secondary school students potentially housing 17,000 different microbes including the cold and flu virus**.

Viruses and germs have the potential to thrive on warm, glass surfaces*** providing the perfect playground for flu microbes to multiply and from there infect the phone owner, as well as their family, friends and colleagues.


The dozen most common germs, which can be found and spread via iPhones, include the germs responsible for:

  1. Common cold
  2. Influenza
  3. E Coli
  4. Diphtheria
  5. Pneumonia
  6. Folliculitis
  7. Ear infections
  8. Sinusitis
  9. Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  10. Strep Throat
  11. Sepsis
  12. Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart)

Dr. Shikha Pitalia, GP and director at Pall Mall Medical said: “The average Brit checks their phone every 12 minutes when they’re awake**** and coupling this with poor hand hygiene and a dirty smartphone screen creates the perfect storm for many of us to pick up the flu this winter. Flu can be a serious condition, particularly for children, pregnant women and the elderly and we should all be taking simple yet effective steps in order to minimise the risk of us contracting or spreading the virus.”

To try and keep ‘iFlu’ at bay, Pall Mall Medical recommends taking the following steps to ensure a smartphone or tablet is kept as sanitary as possible:

  • Wipe regularly with a microfibre cloth; these can be purchased inexpensively and kept in bedside tables, office drawers and handbags so that the screen can cleaned.
  • For a deeper, more effective clean, apply a homemade solution of 60 percent water and 40 percent rubbing alcohol to the cloth before wiping the screen to kill as much unwanted bacteria as possible
  • Use disinfectant wipes to keep the rear of a phone or tablet, including a case, clean. Please note that these wipes shouldn’t be used on the screen itself
  • Keep your hands super clean by washing regularly – you should be cleaning them for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday through twice each time you come to wash them. Consider keeping hand sanitiser with you while out and about to keep germs at bay
  • It’s possible to buy gadgets that use UV light to sanitise gadgets online at a starting price of around £50; while these do provide a deep clean for technology, practising all round good habits when it comes to hand and smartphone hygiene is a more affordable option that can prove just to be just as effective
  • And to stay as truly safe as possible, visit a GP for a winter flu jab, particularly if you fall into an at-risk category of patient

A private flu vaccination at Pall Mall Medical costs just £15 and is the single most effective way of keeping influenza away during the rest of winter 2020.

To book a flu jab at Pall Mall’s Manchester, Newton-Le-Willows or Liverpool sites, please call 03300 58 44 55.


Notes to editors:

Pall Mall Medical provides high-quality private healthcare services to self-paying and private medical insured patients with no waiting lists for any appointments, scans or surgery. Our CQC-certified clinics are conveniently located in Liverpool, Manchester & Newton-Le-Willows.

*Study by the University of Arizona

** Study recorded by the U.S National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

*** Research paper ‘Issues Concerning Survival of Viruses on Surfaces’, P. Vasickova, I. Pavlik, M. Verani

****Ofcom Data