Is your office making you sick? Tips to avoid


Background info

·       Germs are lurking all over the workplace, more than you think

·       The CDC estimates that up to 80% of all infections are spread by hand contact with contaminated surfaces and direct human contact.

·       Most of the places we touch and come in contact with are likely harborers of germs.

·       According to the National Health Interview Survey, influenza alone is responsible for about 200 million days of reduced productivity and 75 million days of work absence annually.

Most common areas in the workplace harboring bacteria

·       Refrigerator door handles:

o   Warning: Faucets - high traffic area

o   Tip: Don’t use bare hands

·       Sink faucet handles:

o   Warning: One Kimberly-Clark study found them to be dirtiest place in your office, 75% of those studied were heavily contaminate

o   Warning: The stainless steel and metal alloys in faucet handles allow cold viruses in some cases to survive up to seven days

o   Tip: Use hand sanitizer and wash hands thoroughly

·       The water cooler:

o   Warning: Wet environment is perfect place for biofilm to grow creating petri-dish like atmosphere that’s heavenly to germs

o   Tip: Stick to bottled water

·       Elevator buttons:

o   Warning: High concentration of bacteria and viruses

o   Tip: Use your elbow to push the button

·       The desk:

o   Warning: Be careful playing musical chairs when there aren’t enougn seats to go around. 2009 study showed that keyboards used by multiple people had 5 times number of microorganisms as those used by one person

o   Tip: Keep disinfectant wipes nearby, wipe down keyboard, phone once a week

Extra point: the common areas are most dangerous because they’re the dumping grounds for everyone’s germs


Get your flu shot:

·       By getting vaccinated you add communal good by protecting others

Follow the basics:

·       Eat right

·       Exercise

·       Get enough sleep to keep your immune system in top form

·       Don’t try to make up for bad behavior with a slew of supplements

·       Wash your hands, a lot