Flu Tips for Smartphone Users: Helpful Hints to Avoid Getting Sick

Flu season has arrived, and with it comes a list of precautions smartphone users can take in order to avoid catching the flu from their device.

Germs often travel making their way onto objects such as door knobs, staircase railings, and subway poles. Once a person touches the surface of one of these objects and follows that up with touching their face, the next logical place for the germs to travel to is to their phone, once they decide to make a call.

AT&T's Chief Medical Information Officer Geeta Nayyar recently released tips on how to keep these germs away from your smartphone and how to avoid catching the flu from smartphone use.

First, although the iPhone 5 is great, don't test or borrow friends' phones right now. This passes germs quickly, more often than not.

Smartphone users should avoid using handsets on the subway, at the gym, in the restroom or at your local coffee place or salad bar- specifically, don't use it and then rest it on public surfaces. Many people touch these surfaces after touching their noses, mouths, or their own devices in the course of a day, and that is a gross place to catch bacteria from.

Third, sanitizing and disinfecting your smartphone several times a day- even if you think it has not been in contact with a sick person- can help prevent disease. AT&T stores carry disinfectant, and a store manager can make references to the best disinfectant for your smartphone this flu season.

Another helpful hint is to try using a Bluetooth device or other hands-free headset, minimizing your keypad-to-face exposure. Headphones, though still minimally touched by hands, can be used as well, if they have speakers attached.

There even some apps on your device can help you fight influenza, and they are all found on the AT&T network. "FluFACTS Fight the Flu" helps track flu information locally; assess your symptoms should you feel sick, and also provides ways to prevent catching the flu. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a similar smartphone application that lets you track treatment and info.

iPhone apps have been released by Duane Read, CVS and other chain drugstores throughout New York City. These smartphone applications help track store locations nearby and their on-hand supplies of flu shots.