Touchscreens at Restaurants Pose an Especially Large Risk During Flu Season

by Emily on January 25, 2020

in Articles

I don’t think I’m alone in my excitement for the touch screen soda-dispensers found in various restaurants. There are seemingly a million different choices of soda and types of Sprite that I can’t even find in the grocery store. I usually drink like three different types of soda whenever I go to a restaurant that has that type of machine. Unfortunately, along with having a ton of different types of soda, it also has an abundance of bacteria left behind by different people. 

Have you ever declined to shake someone’s hand because they were sick? A soda machine is not so fortunate to have that ability. Similarly, various different chain restaurants have begun adopting touch screens as part of their ordering or checkout process. Throughout the year, but especially during flu season, this can be a major hazard. Millions of people are touching the screens, typically without washing their hands prior. Out of the tens of millions who get the flu annually in the US, a lot of them are certainly going to fast food restaurants. 

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, one of the ways the flu spreads is when someone touches a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes. This truly makes the restaurant touchscreens seem like a recipe for disaster when it comes to spreading the flu. 

An important thing to distinguish is the different between cleaning and disinfecting. Just because something looks clean doesn’t mean that it’s been disinfected. A ketchup stain will probably do a lot better of a job keeping you from touching a screen, as opposed to a virus that you can’t even see. But it’s what you can’t see that is the greater risk by far. 

A lot of these screens are cleaned, but not properly disinfected. Regrettably, many of the disinfectants that actually kill bacteria and prevent the spread of illness also damage the screens and reduce their lifespan by a significant amount. This seems like a bit of obstacle: the restaurants either damage their expensive equipment or they put customers at risk. Fortunately, there’s a third option: they get a medical screen protector.

You wouldn’t think to get a medical-grade screen protector for touch screens used in a restaurant, but it’s actually a highly appropriate solution. Typically, when someone thinks of a screen protector, they imagine the one they use for their phone to prevent it from getting cracked. The quality people are typically looking for is impact strength. Which is certainly important for a device that is intended to constantly be used. But the key thing restaurants need to look for in this case is the ability to allow for the use of harsh cleaning products to properly disinfect the screens. 

Fortunately, there is a new product out there called Seal Screen, which is a custom screen protector that can be placed on pretty much any type of screen. It features anti-microbial product protection as well as tensile strength and the ability to withstand cleaning products. This is an essential buy for businesses who utilize touchscreens so that they can continue to maximize the efficiency afforded by these devices, while still keeping safety a priority. 

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