Let’s talk about the scariest new flu threat of the year: Your iPad. Any gadget with a touch screen is likely to be crawling with germs. In fact, studies have shown that the typical mobile phone carries 18 times more bacteria than a toilet’s flush handle! But gadgets with glass touch screens – like the iPad - tend to carry even more germs than that.  And you can probably guess why.

Think about it: The only way to make those gadgets work is to touch them. And a recent Stanford University study found that if you put virus on a glass surface, at least 30 percent of that virus will end up on your fingertips! Then, if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, that virus can easily enter your body and make you sick.

And during flu season, an estimated one-in-five people carry the flu virus! That means if you walk into Best Buy, and play with one of the latest smart phones, Blackberries, or tablet computers, there’s a great chance you’ll be touching someone else’s germs.  Same goes for scrolling through pictures on your friend’s iPhone – or letting your toddler turn the pages of an e-book on your iPad.

So, how can you stay connected and flu-free?  Experts now recommend treating touch screen devices as an extension of your body. That means you should get in the habit of cleaning your gadgets once a day. We recommend using anti-bacterial wipes that are specifically designed for touch screens. Or try Screen Kleen, with a “K.” You can buy those on Amazon or at Costco. Whatever you do, never use liquid cleaners containing alcohol, ammonia or other solvents. Those can seriously damage the sensitive electronics that make touch screens work.