How to use public touchscreens safely?

Posted: 2021-07-29

Did you know that, according to research made by London Metropolitan University, there have been traces of Enterococcus faecalis found on self-order screens in multiple fast-food restaurants across the UK? Its presence on touch screens is likely due to people not washing their hands after using the toilet. These results raised a problem surrounding the hygiene of public touchscreens.

Ubiquitous self-service touchscreens

In the era of Covid-19, self-service panels have become one of the solutions to minimise the risk of the virus transmission in public spaces, supporting social distancing by avoiding face-to-face interactions. We rely on this technology to perform day-to-day activities, from self-checkouts at grocery stores, parcel terminals to ATMs and airport check-in kiosks, to name just a few. Undoubtedly, communal touchscreens became an integral part of our lives, both, in business and leisure.

The spread of harmful microbes

That being said, these shared surfaces are touched by countless people daily, thus they are a great place to collect and spread germs. Their nature of use makes it even more difficult to keep them sanitized, as it is practically impossible to clean touchscreens every single time they have been touched. Surface transmission involves different strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi. While it is known that coronavirus is primarily transmitted via exhalation, studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 can survive on glass, banknotes and stainless steel for as long as 28 days.

Antimicrobial protection at hand

The concern about exposure to surface bacteria and viruses resulted in the invention of antimicrobial films dedicated to touch screens, but not exclusively. AS-100 Anti Microb Tape is one of the examples. It was designed to protect touchscreens against the growth of bacteria and viruses, including coronavirus, with the effectiveness up to 99,99%. Classified as an innovative product, once applied, it self-disinfects surfaces for the period of one year. Regardless the type of pathogens, numerous reports make us aware of the potential risk we may face while approaching public touch screens. It is clear that more attention should be paid to hygiene by customers, but also by kiosks owners, e.g. in restaurants where we eat with our bare hands, in order to provide the safest possible solution.

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