Even with modern day medications and vaccines, we still fall victim to illnesses. As a virus that is transmitted mostly from person to person, with tens of millions of people being infected every year, the flu is both incredibly common and dangerous. With flu season well underway this year, it’s important to take extra precautions to help fend off infection causing bacteria. Being aware of the places that are most likely to have a high volume of bacteria can help you make good choices and avoid getting sick. Your workplace can be a hotbed of bacteria, and some basic habit changes can make a huge difference and stop the unnecessary spread of germs!
Desk and Desk Items
The amount of germs that can accumulate on a desk would probably make you uncomfortable. This is especially true for shared work tops and supplies. Consider something like an office phone which multiple people probably use by putting their faces directly on the receiver. Or how many times has that stapler or hole punch been passed around? With most viruses being transferred from person to person, you have to consider how many people are in contact with your work area and what bacteria they may be bringing in from their own work area, public transportation, or the bathroom. By just keeping a pack of anti bacterial wipes and giving the surface and supplies a good wipe down, you could save yourself from cashing in those sick days.
While it’s super common to have communal mugs that stay in the office kitchen, shared bacteria are as equally common. Consider the instance where one of your colleagues grabs a mug on monday morning, drinks half the coffee and accidently leaves it on her desk at the end of the day. That same colleague ends up taking the next day off, and that half drank coffee remains on the desk, bacteria growing. When the coffee mug finally ends up in the sink, someone eventually rinses it out, leaving the majority of the germs in tact, and puts it back in the cabinet for someone else to use. This, or worse, is the fate of many of those office mugs, so keep that in mind next time you reach for one. If you don’t have a personal mug from home, be sure to thoroughly clean any office mug with soap and hot water, preferably in a dishwasher.
Most offices have one, maybe two copiers that everyone uses by pressing the same handful of buttons hundreds of times a day. Machines like these are breeding grounds for virus causing bacteria as they get spread from person to person. If you can wipe down the machine with an antibacterial wipe, you would be helping everyone that follows you to avoid these nasty germs. Definitely wash your hands or utilize some anti bacterial gel afterwards.
Your computer, key board, and mouse are constantly being touched, and if you have a shared workspace, they are also being touched by a lot of other people. If you are sharing a workspace or if you are utilizing a computer in a library or public space, the amount of bacteria that could be building up on these items is frightening, so be sure to use antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer regularly. Also, if you eat lunch at your desk, remove the keyboard and mouse to avoid contact with crumbs which could also be the source of germs, and wipe down the surface thoroughly afterward.
While we all want to get ahead, remember that going to work while sick might be doing more harm than good to yourself and to your coworkers. If you notice someone hanging around the office that looks flu or cold ridden, keep your antibacterial supplies nearby. By following good personal hygiene and being aware of these bacterial hot spots, you might be able to get through the season without any illnesses!