MOBILE PHONE USAGE AND HYGIENE: AWARENESS AND PRACTICES AMONG ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS IN MALAYSIA
Keywords:awareness and practice, hygiene, mobile phones, usage
The usage of mobile phones has increased dramatically, and phones become an essential accessory in our personal, social and professional life. Mobile phones can act as a reservoir of many pathogenic organisms. Mobile phones are ideal breeding sites for pathogens as they are kept warm and snug in our pockets and handbags. The important factor of contamination is the personal hygiene level. The aim of the study was to conduct a survey to identify the level of awareness about mobile phone microbial contamination and to assess the hygienic practice of its usage among the young adults. A self-administered questionnaire was designed and distributed among 100 mobile phone users. The data were then analysed descriptively. Chi square test was used to assess the associations between variables. Among the participants, 66% reported that they clean their phone less than once a week, and the majority was generally unaware of the infection risks associated with mobile phone usage. Respondents with tertiary education had higher levels of mobile hygiene practices compared to those with primary or secondary education (p<0.0005). Students had higher levels of mobile phone hygiene compared to unemployed and employed respondents (p=0.009). The respondents older than 25 years old had lower levels of mobile phone hygiene (p=0.002). This study suggests that awareness about mobile phone microbial contamination is lacking. Therefore, multimodal awareness programs are needed to reduce the associated risks.