Washington, Feb 25 (ANI): You can get seasonal flus and colds from using office phones, experts have warned.
In his research on office germs, Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, found that the phone is the single dirtiest part of the office.
"Apparently, nobody ever cleans or disinfects an office phone," the CBS News quoted Gerba as saying.
Workers are also warned to be aware of the other sneaky places in the office where bacteria and viruses hide. But surprisingly it doesn't include the toilet seat.
"People wipe it down all the time," stated Gerba.
Your can also contact germs from your desk drawer and keyboard as, Gerba says, most folks only clean them when they're sticky.
"We routinely find cold viruses on desktops during the cold season," he stated.
In a story for ABCNews.com, Gerba said he found intestinal bacteria-the kind found in human waste-in one employee's candy bowl.
Coffee pots, sink faucets, refrigerator handles, and microwave handles are some of the filthiest parts of a typical workspace, added Brad Reynolds, North American Platform Leader for The Healthy Workplace Project, conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional.
"On average, these items have at least four times the bacteria levels of the average toilet seat," he said.
"Although many employees use the office break-room on a daily basis, it is generally not cleaned but once a day by the cleaning staff and rarely by the actual users, allowing contamination to build up and pass from person to person throughout the course of the day," Reynolds noted.
Not only are conference rooms another place where people - and germs - mingle, but meetings themselves may begin and end with a professional handshake. That's a superbly efficient way to transmit germs.
"Everyone should sanitize their hands before and after meetings in order to eliminate bringing germs back to their desks," Reynolds cautioned.
Buttons for the elevator, copy machine, or coffeemaker are the same as handshakes.
"Proper hand-washing with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs in the workplace, even more so than the use of hand-sanitizing agents," said Amy Costello, an analyst with Staples Advantage, a unit of the office-supply company that has conducted surveys on office health. (ANI)
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