According to a new study, your Apple Watch or Fitbits wristband is a breeding ground for bacteria linked to fever, diarrhea, and a weakened immune system.
Researchers swabbed a variety of wristbands and discovered that they are rife with pneumonia-causing E. coli and Staphylococcus spp.
The contaminated bands were comprised of plastic, latex, fabric, leather, and metal.
However, the crew discovered that gold and silver were the most hygienic materials.
Professor of biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University Nwadiuto Esiobu, the study’s senior author, said, “The quantity and taxonomy of bacteria we found on the wristbands demonstrate the need for routine sanitation of these surfaces.”
Wristbands as Bacterial Breeding Grounds
“The ability of many of these bacteria to significantly affect the health of immunocompromised hosts indicates a special need for health care workers and others to regularly sanitize these surfaces,” she explained.
Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas were the most common germs on 95% of bracelets.
“Staphylococcus spp bacteria on 85 percent of wristbands ‘was not unexpected,” Esiobu and her colleagues said. However, the presence of ‘Pseudomonas spp’ on 30 percent of the wristbands was a ‘public health concern.’
The presence of the intestinal bacteria E. coli, which commonly spreads through fecal-oral transmission and was detected on sixty percent of the sampled wristbands, was also cause for concern, they said.
High Bacterial Contamination Found on Various Wristband Materials
When samples were cultivated in a petri dish-like culture, the most infected wristbands averaged 34,600 bacterial colonies per square centimeter of surface (cfu/cm2) and 15,200 cfu/cm2 on rubber and plastic bands, respectively.
Metallic gold and silver wristbands contained between zero and eighteen cfu/cm2.
Cloth plastic rubber leather metal, according to the authors’ findings.
Hygiene Practices Urged to Combat Health Risks Linked to Wristband Bacteria
The totality of their findings prompted the researchers to employ disinfectant techniques.
No matter the wristband material, Lysol Disinfectant Spray and 70% ethanol killed 99.99 percent of people in 30 seconds.
Apple cider vinegar proved to be less effective but could complete the task in approximately two minutes.
The study found no difference in bacterial-infested wristbands between men and women.
The single most effective predictor of which band contained the most bacteria, according to their findings, was the material’s texture and the person’s recent activity or hygiene before testing.
She noted that other potential forms of bacterial transmission and infection facilitation, such as earbuds and cell phones, should be investigated similarly.