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Expert reveals you should be disinfecting your bank card

GP reveals you should be disinfecting your bank card once a week because it could be contaminated with bacteria from users all touching the same reader amid coronavirus outbreak

  • Exclusive:  Dr Chike Emeagi explained it’s possible for the coronavirus to survive long enough on the flat surface of a card reader to be transferred to your card
  • Compared to touching door knobs and explained that germs can hide in the nooks and crannies of watches, rings, credit cards and bank notes
  • He recommends disinfecting your cards and jewellery once a week
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A GP has revealed how debit and credit cards can carry microbes from those who have used the same card reader before you, including bacteria such as salmonella and E.Coli.

Former orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chike Emeagi, Medical Director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic and Dr Chike Clinics, told FEMAIL that while the risk is low, it is still possible for the coronavirus bacteria to survive long enough on the flat surface of a card reader to be transferred to your card. 

He explained that germs can hide in the nooks and crannies of watches, rings, credit cards and bank notes, and recommends disinfecting your cards and jewellery once a week.

Comparing credit cards to touching door knobs and handles, he suggested using disinfectant wipes to clean cards, and warm water and soap for jewellery. 

British GP Dr Chike Emeagi explained it’s possible for the coronavirus bacteria to survive long enough on the flat surface of a card reader to be transferred to your card (stock image used)

Dr Chike said: ‘I can certainly envisage a scenario where your card could be contaminated with microbes from those whom have used the exact same card reader previously. 

‘Germs can hide in nooks and crannies in objects including watches, rings, credit cards, coins and bank notes – things we ordinarily would not worry about.

‘Because of limited knowledge of this virus and how it came about extreme vigilance to hygiene is paramount.  

‘The issue is that from an infection point of view, handling a credit card is similar to touching any other surface – doorknobs, stair-rails etc.

‘Any surface has potential to harbour germs-bacteria and viruses.’ 

He explained that germs can hide in the nooks and crannies of watches, rings, credit cards and bank notes, and recommends disinfecting your cards and jewellery once a week

The World Health organisation recently released a statement describing the risk as ‘low’, adding: ‘With proper hand cleaning, the risk of being infected with the new coronavirus by touching objects, including coins, banknotes or indeed credit cards, is very low,’ World Health organisation-WHO. 

Various studies have confirmed that the virus can remain viable in the air for up to three hours, on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours.

Dr Chike concluded: ‘This suggests the virus could live on credit cards anything from hours to days.   

‘The bacterial bugs commonly found on cards include  staphylococcus aureus, the cause of staph (skin) infections, salmonella enterica and E.Coli, a common cause of food poisoning.

‘It important to note that the possibility of catching coronavirus through your card is low but theoretical. 

‘I would recommend using soap and water or just hot water for jewellery and disinfectant wipe for credit cards – especially the cards you use regularly. 

‘The frictional force of wiping is said to be sufficient to wipe away any virus, especially with soap or chloride -based cleaners.

‘You could also wear gloves when holding your card.

‘But the main consideration is to use caution. wash your hands after handling anything that you think could be contaminated’. 

Comparing credit cards to touching door knobs and handles, he suggested using disinfectant wipes to clean cards, and warm water and soap for jewellery

 

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