Is your desk contagious?

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Is your desk contagious?


30 July 2014

Attention office workers: have you suffered from flu symptoms this winter? There is a possibility that you caught the flu from your desk….

Modern technology has increased the amount of time office workers spend at their workstation and many of these workstations are not as clean as we think. Workers are constantly touching and using workstations appliances such as keyboards, mice and phones. Many office workers undertake these desk based tasks whilst snacking or eating lunch. In addition, office environments cause workers to come in close contact or even share workstations with each other. Above all, research reveals that more than two thirds of Australian workers go to work whilst sick. As a result, these circumstances have caused workstations to be a playground for thousands of live bacteria that can cause illness by allowing opportunity for viruses like the flu virus to spread.

Danger zone

Is your desk more of threat to your health than public bathroom? It is customary to wash your hands after visiting the bathroom however research may have you washing your hands and scrubbing down your desk. A study from Dr Charles Gerba, an expert on the transmission of disease through microbes, revealed that office desks have 500 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Additional study findings discovered that most items on the average desk have way too many creepy crawlies dwelling on them.

For instance, these are the germ magnets to be aware of:

  • Mobile: 162,000 germs per square centimetre
  • Desk: 136,000 germs per square centimetre
  • Computer keyboard: 21,000 germs per square centimetre

 Whilst toilet seats only had 325 germs per square centimetre!

What can you do to ensure healthy office hygiene?

  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Do not eat lunch at your desk (eat in the break room or outside and encourage colleagues to do the same)
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Clean and sanitise all workstation appliances regularly (especially if you are sharing a workstation)

What tips do you have to avoid the flu this winter?

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