Office space is ready for the spread of infectious diseases . You may also have noticed it when you feel like you're having a cold every time someone snoops in your office.
The reason behind it is really as simple as you might have guessed: offices are usually full of people, which greatly facilitates the spread of diseases in the air and shared objects, says Alexander L. Greninger, Deputy Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory of the University of Washington, opposite SELF.
Before you start bathing with the hand sanitizer (always bad advice). Keep in mind that germs are around the clock in your area. Only selected germs are actual pathogens that can transmit infectious diseases. Her immune system has also been developed to fight pathogens. That's why most people are not sick all the time, Keith Roach M.D., a lecturer in clinical medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, says SELF. Even better, if you fall ill, your immune system can often protect you in the future from this specific virus strain more effectively.
In other words, office life can be challenging even for the most robust immune systems. Here are seven things that in most jobs tend to be serious germs and how to protect yourself from the communicable office disease du jour.
. 1 Keyboards
Think about how many things you touch during the day. Then accept the reality that many of the germs that collect your hands have direct access to your keyboard. As you touch body parts such as the mouth, nose, and eyes, hitchhiking to different entry points into your body.
A study from 2018, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that 96 percent of the 25 keyboards studied were contaminated with microorganisms, such as E. Coli which may cause food poisoning . The situation can be even worse if you are not the only one using a keyboard, like a shared computer in a conference room. In 2009, the American Journal of Infection Control published a study examining 35 keyboards in three different computer laboratories at the university. It was found that four times as many bacterial colonies per square centimeter were present on several user workplaces.
Admittedly, having bacteria on the keyboard does not necessarily mean that you get sick. Nevertheless, this is a good reminder that your hands are thoroughly washed and dried before and after using the keyboard as well as regularly during the day. (Hand disinfectant with with at least 60 percent alcohol is a good second option if you can not wash your hands.) You can also clean your keyboard everyday with a simple item such as a sanitizer. CDC says
If you notice how many times you touch a door knob every day at work, you may be surprised. You may also be a little appalled when you think about how many people are touching these buttons as well.
Get creative, depending on the door in question. Is it a bathroom door, so you can use the towel when drying your hands to cover the button when you go? Is it a conference room door that you can push open with your shoulder instead of using your hand ?
If you really have no choice but to touch a door knob, that does not seem to mean that anything is going to be unhappy with your health. If so, the world's population would probably have died out centuries ago. However, wash your hands or frequently use a hand sanitizer. If you feel particularly generous, you can disinfect office areas that people touch, such as door knobs, but that's up to you.
You should also be sure that you receive your Flu Vaccine every year. All handwash and disinfectants in the world can not be compared to a vaccine that protects you from the inside out.
. 3 The refrigerator handle
The craziest office jobs are usually touched by many and disinfected by a few. Unless someone is eager to wipe the office kitchen refrigerator daily, it might be spiky enough to keep you from eating.
Wash your hands after opening the fridge, but before grabbing the cutlery or crockery Eat everything you have stored in your sweetheart. Otherwise, you may roll up the welcome mat for germs into your body. "You open the fridge, grab your apple and eat it, and next you know what you have on the fridge handle," Dr. Roach. Is it again a guarantee that you will get sick? Is the mere thought of that serious? It depends on your constitution, but it could be.
. 4 Kitchen Sponges
It's a special kind of betrayal when something supposedly meant for cleaning is actually pretty dirty, but yes. People who study microorganisms are usually not fans of sponges.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invariably states that it does not recommend the use of sponges for cleaning. Sponges are difficult to disinfect because their moisture and small holes are a great breeding ground for bacteria.
You can use microwaveable or boiling office kitchen sponges for cleaning, but the results are mixed the effectiveness of both options. Instead, it may be easier to tell if your office can replace the kitchen sponge with a dishwashing brush . These items lack the small holes in sponges that can hide food and form bacteria, are easier to clean and can dry in much less time. This is known as win-win-win.
. 5 Tap handles
If the taps in your office have sensors that turn the water on and off without touching the handles, you're in luck. Otherwise, anyone who washes their hands probably needs to touch a tap to do this. (We hope that everyone would be in your office, but we are realistic here.) Taps have the added disadvantage that they are often near toilets .
This raises concerns about possible pathogens being transmitted by fecal particles, says dr. Roach. He points to norovirus, which was the most common offender in the United States after Foodborne Diseases according to CDC . It can spread in different ways, eg. For example, by tiny patches of poop and persons infected by the vomit that settle on ordinary surfaces, such as, you do not have to touch the handles. If none of these options are possible, use a hand sanitizer after touching a faucet.
. 6 Everything That Continues to Touch Other People
It is wise to think about how the nature of your office is suitable for germination. Do you have a team meeting at the same table every afternoon? Is there a coffee machine to get everyone together first thing in the morning?
Whatever the case may be, there's the not-so-fun reality that a sick colleague might touch a lot of things you touch as well. If you feel a precautionary measure every day, Dr. Roach maybe a little over the top. If you know you have a sick colleague, it is perfectly fine to wipe off common items with sanitiser wipes before using them. If this is not easy (for example, if you do not want to be the only person wiping your chair and table before a meeting), you can be extra cautious about other hygiene steps, such as washing your hands.
. 7 The Air (Pardon)
This is just unfair, but unfortunately many infectious diseases spread through the air while the sick talk, cough and sneeze. "These airway droplets are getting around," Dr. Roach. Even if an employee is ill, can not (or does not) stay at home and is polite to cover coughing and sneezing, their germs are still spreading . All you need is a couple of sick people in an office and suddenly you could inhale a large amount of viruses (both in terms of quantity and factor).
Even if someone does not seem to be ill, this may be the case. Spray droplets loaded with viruses through the air. For example, one day before the onset of symptoms, people can infect other people with the flu, according to CDC .
wash your hands. There is a good reason that infectious disease experts are basically obsessed with this hygiene habit. In addition, if someone around you seems to be sick at work, try to stay out of your personal area if possible. While the jury still knows exactly how far germs can spread through the air the CDC says that viruses like the flu can go 6 feet when people cough, sneeze and talk. Remember, when you get in touch with a sick colleague.
Encourage even your sick colleagues to stay home when this is possible in your office culture, and do so even when you are ill. It is really the best for everyone.