Gross alert—Germs Are Everywhere!

Gross alert—Germs Are Everywhere!

Fair warning—you may want to break out the antibacterial hand gel and the disinfecting wipes while reading this article and everyday thereafter.

Flu season is at its peak and germs have a habit of lurking everywhere, especially in the workplace.  A recent report from in2vate, llc, points to research that says employees are touching more germy surfaces at work than ever before.  Specifically, items on their own desk may be the germiest. Most often cleaning crews will not touch desk space because it is considered personal space, leaving opportunity for germs to grow. For instance:

  • Telephones can hold more than 25,000 germs per square inch.
  • Computer keyboards reportedly can have more than 200 times as many bacteria as a toilet seat.
  • Bathrooms remain one of the scariest places where E. Coli bacteria can be found on every surface.

In another comprehensive study conducted by hygienists from Kimberly Clark-Professional, and carried out in consultation with Dr. Charles Gerba, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Arizona, the percentage of the office surfaces tested and found to have high levels of contamination includes:

  • 75 percent of break room sink faucet handles
  • 48 percent of microwave door handles
  • 27 percent of keyboards
  • 26 percent of refrigerator door handles
  • 23 percent of water fountain buttons
  • 21 percent of vending machine buttons

Good news is we can prevent the spread of germs with a few simple tasks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest making a habit of the following:

  • Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.
  • Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.
  • Train others on how to do your job so they can cover for you in case you or a family member gets sick and you have to stay home.
  • If you begin to feel sick while at work, go home as soon as possible.

For more information on how to stay healthy at work check out https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/workplace/employees.html

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