Germs at the Workplace: Battling Against the Cold & Flu This Fall | Top10MD

There’s an epidemic spread of germs in the workplace, especially potential cold and flu viruses!  Microbiology professor, Charles Gerba, of the University of Arizona, conducted a study and then presented his findings at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Washington, D.C.  This study found that germs spread throughout cubicles and the workplace within 4-hours and reach up to 60% of workers and visitors.

Most Common Places for Germs at Work?

Gerba’s research found that the most common areas of traces of the virus (MS-2), which he used in his study, were:

  •      Door knobs
  •      Tabletops in conference rooms or other group areas
  •      Kitchen and break area

From these findings, Gerba concluded how much more quickly germs travel through our hands than air-borne through a sneeze.  Furthermore, even though MS-2 virus was conducted in the study, the same conclusions can be drawn about cold and flu viruses.

Cutting Down on Spreading Germs & Viruses in an Office Setting?

A quick, easy and efficient option is to reduce the spread of viruses by using hand sanitizers or disinfectant wipes.  Both of these items should contain QUATS or quaternary ammonium compounds, found in most brands.  Through the utilization of sanitizers and disinfectant wipes, the virus spread was reduced by 99%! It should also be noted, says Gerba, it is a misconception that using hand sanitizers alone reduces the body’s resistance to germs.

More Ways to Reduce the Spread of Germs to Avoid Catching a Cold or the Flu at Your Work Place

Press elevator buttons with your knuckles:

Even though this is basic, primarily use this method for the first-floor button, which is the most common button touched. Incorporate hand sanitizers before and after leaving an elevator. Wipe your computer keyboard and fax machine down with sanitizing wipes daily.  Press with care! Last but not least KEEP YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR FACE!

Wash your hands regularly:

As the old saying goes – wash your hands (with soap) for 15 seconds, or while singing a happy tune 🙂   When leaving the coffee break room, wash your hands – this room is contaminated with potential viruses.  At the same time, don’t overdo it. According to a Harvard Health Publication, it’s nice to have some “resident flora” bacteria on the skin. Though washing is necessary, moisturizing is just as important as soaps can begin to dry out your skin especially as winter approaches. One last point is clean the area you eat your lunch. From breakrooms to restaurant tables they are as dirty or if not more than a toilet seat. Never place your utensils on the table keep them in your napkin until your food has come then put them on your plate.

Awareness is essential!  The key to staying healthy this winter is to wash your hands, use hand sanitizers and keep Clorox wipes in your desk drawer and car and purse.