CHECKING your Fitbit and Apple Watches to see what your daily fitness levels are can become a little addictive.

From counting every step you take (even on slow days) to tracking your sleep routine, many may find them hard to live without, meaning it’s constantly strapped on.

But scientists have now discovered that the plastic straps used for the devices can harvest “high levels of potentially harmful bacteria.”

In a study published in the journal Advances in Infectious Diseases, they found that the specific material of straps for Fitbits and Apple Watches contained levels of E.coli and staphylococcus, reports the Evening Standard.

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Researchers at Florida Atlantic University swabbed 20 watches that belonged to people who have a variety of careers such as firefighters, vets and office workers.

What are the symptoms of E. coli and staphylococcus?

E.coli was found on 60% of watch wristbands, meaning serious symptoms could occur such as stomach pain, bloody diarrhoea and kidney failure if not sanitised properly.

Meanwhile, staphylococcus was recorded on 85% of the products which can cause swollen skin, blisters and sores around the eyes, according to the NHS.

However, the straps which were made of metals like gold and silver were the “cleanest.”

But overall, 95% of all swabbed watch straps were contaminated with some strain of bacteria.

Dr Nwadiuto Esiobu, senior author of the study, said: “Porous and static surfaces tend to attract and be colonised by bacteria.

Chard & Ilminster News: People usually notice symptoms three to four days after they have been infected with E. coli, the NHS saysPeople usually notice symptoms three to four days after they have been infected with E. coli, the NHS says (Image: Getty)

“The quantity and taxonomy of bacteria we found on the wristbands show that there is a need for regular sanitation of these surfaces.

“Even at relatively low numbers, these pathogens are of public health significance. Importantly, the ability of many of these bacteria to significantly affect the health of immunocompromised hosts indicates a special need for health care workers and others in hospital environments to regularly sanitise these surfaces.”

If you’re looking for products to clean the bacteria from your Fitbit and Apple Watches, the scientists also figured out which sanitising solutions can do the best job.

To kill the nasty germs, Lysol disinfectant spray and 70% ethanol were found to remove nearly 100% of the bacteria within 30 seconds.

An alternative common household item such as apple cider vinegar “reduced the bacteria” in around two minutes.