Mics can get filthy – but you already knew that, right?
Uncared for microphones can become “invisibly” gross. They are used in close proximity to the mouth and regularly get handled by dirty hands, intentionally or unintentionally spat on and misused. This is even more true with mics that are used by many people, in public places. Like mics used in meetings to ask questions to an audience, microphones used in karaoke singing places, mics used in churches etc
I’m sure you already knew that though, this is why you are here with an important question – can you actually catch something and fall sick if you use a contaminated microphone?
Yes, you can – especially during pandemics and flu seasons. There are multiple stories about people who repeatedly fell sick using dirty microphones and only tracked down the source of their illness later on because they never thought an infected microphone could be the culprit.
Types of stuff that end up on microphones.
So now we know it is possible to catch something and fall ill using contaminated mics, let’s look into the type of stuff that usually ends up on microphones. Here below is a quick list:
Well, this is a no brainer right? Mics are typically used very close to the mouth and saliva can pop out of the mouth onto microphones knowingly or not. Especially during heavy speaking or singing sessions. If this saliva is contaminated, then having this then touch your mount could cause issues.
Bacteria & Germs
These come both from the saliva and from the actual handling of the mic by hand. Germ infested hands grabbing onto the mic will leave germs and bacteria on the mic. By holding the mic and then rubbing your eyes, mouth or eating with them (without first washing you hands). could pass flu or other illnesses into your body and cause you to fall sick.
Viruses can stay on metallic and non-porous surfaces and survive for quite a while. These viruses are usually carried by the droplets of saliva or fluids of an infected user. If you end up touching this with your lips and ingesting such droplets, this could be the way in viruses that can make you fall ill.
Can a microphone have a virus?
As mentioned above, viruses need to be in the medium, such as a droplet of saliva, and if this rests on nonporous surfaces of the microphone, they can easily be transmitted to the next user.
Should you share mics with others?
So now that we’ve covered all of those points, should you share a microphone with others? We sometimes may be in situations where we’ve been handed a microphone and we need to speak or sing into it. This can cause issues and many potentially dangerous situations, especially during pandemics and other seasons of illnesses such as the flu. If you have a choice to avoid using public microphones such as those used in karaoke singing bars, then it would be wise to do so.
If on the other hand have just been passed used microphone and you now have to speak or sing into it, it is best to keep it a clear distance away from your mouth and wash hand with soap after handling the microphone.
We will discuss, later on, in this article some good etiquette to have whenever you share microphones that can help keep you away from illness.
What to worry about
Best ways to prevent catching something from shared mics
Obviously, the best way to prevent catching illnesses from shared mics is not to use them. This however is not always possible. You end up in situations where you do have to use these mics, so here below are some things you could do to avoid passing germs and illnesses from the mic onto/into you:
1. Keep the microphone at a good safe distance from your mouth. You don’t have to swallow microphones when you use them and they can be quite sensitive. For this reason, there is no need to have the mic actually touch your lips. If you feel the mic touching your lips then you have to wash your mouth as soon as possible.
2. If you are not able to grab onto the microphone with a tissue paper or use a disinfecting wipe to clean the mic before use – so as not to look like a creepy germophobe – make sure you rush off and wash your hands as soon as you done using it. Clean your hands with disinfectant wet wipes or hand sanitiser, or simply excuse yourself to the bathroom and have a good scrub with soap and water.
Cleaning mics and good etiquette
Keeping shared mics clean is a great step towards preventing the spread of germs and illnesses. While this can only go so far and a perfectly clean microphone is just one infected user away from being infected, it still should undergo regular cleaning.
Here are some ways mics can be cleaned
- Clean the microphone foam covers with water and soap regularly.
- Disinfect handles and cables with mild disinfectant wipes. Be careful here especially with the use of harsh chemicals on metal or rubber handles.
- Use UV disinfectant machines to get rid of germs.
So there you have it. Sharing microphones can be a recipe for disaster and illness especially microphones used by many people in public venues. While all of the circumstances have to align for you to actually catch something and get sick sharing microphones – for example a sick person deposits droplets of saliva on the microphone and you end up grabbing onto the microphone and then somehow ingesting the germs from your hands – it actually isn’t that difficult and it happens all the time.
Keeping good hygiene routines like washing your hands regularly with soap and using disinfectant gel, can help reduce these chances and keep you safe from these possible contaminations.
We hope this article helped answer your doubts and share some good tips that will keep you safe. Remember that it is your responsibility to remain aware and take necessary measures to avoid illness. Best wishes.