HEALTH

The office is a dreaded germ hotspot

Dirty coffee cups in the office may be a breeding ground for germs
Dirty coffee cups in the office may be a breeding ground for germs
Image: Pixabay

The door handle, the elevator button and even your own computer – your office, sorry to say, is a germ hotspot.

One of the best places for cold and flu viruses to spread from person-to-person due to close contact, the sharing of stationery (even if you don’t know it) and the use of communal places is your working space.

“There are so many places in an office where bacteria and viruses can lurk and cause you and your colleagues to take more sick days off work than you would like,” brand manager for a cough mixture Nhlanhla Mdhluli says.

“Knowing about these areas, and how to work around them, or even better, avoid them, is a good start in saving yourself, while the rest of the office will most likely be man down.”

Image: Pixabay

Mdhluli lists these “toxic” places in the office, and offers some advice on how to avoid getting that dreaded cold or flu:

• Handles:

Everyone and their visitors touch the door handles in the office, and nobody knows when last they washed their hands, or what they last touched.

These can be handles on the entrance door, an office door, the kitchen cabinet, the refrigerator and even a desk drawer – no handle is safe.

Wash your hands regularly throughout the day to stop you from spreading germs, and to stop carrying them away with you.

• Elevator buttons:

Again, this is used by not only your colleagues, but by everyone in the building.

Germs make their way to your hands through sneezing and coughing, and although we’re taught to cover our mouths when either happens, instead of spreading the germs into the air, you now have them on your hands.

Sanitise your hands after you sneeze or cough into them, or better, use your elbow to cover-up instead.

• Colleagues:

It goes without saying that the biggest spreaders of germs in an office are the people, especially those who are sick.

Although you can’t follow them around throughout the day to make sure they are washing their hands, and sneezing and coughing into their elbows, you can protect yourself.

• Office mugs:

If you are in the habit of using the mugs supplied by your office, you may want to start bringing your own mug to work.

It is hard to be sure the office mugs are cleaned properly, and rinsing them out is not going to stop the spread of germs.

Rather be safe than sorry and bring your own.

• Keyboard and mouse:

Even your own computer can be a place for germs to set up camp.

Logically, more germs will be found on shared computers than on your own, however, according to studies by CBT Nuggets, computers were found to be dirtier than toilet seats.

Be sure to keep a bottle of sanitiser on your desk to clean your hands every once in a while, and regularly clean your computer and keyboard.

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