Tracking the Germs
We usually know who spreads the sickness germ around the office. But do you know how that happens? Even if you don't work with the "Germ Spreader" you can pick up the residue and get sick. Here is how it works. Thanks to a University of Arizona study we learn that sick co-worker has infected practically everything in the office! The new research shows just how fast those germs spread from just one person. In four hours half the office surfaces were infected.
Scientists used a fake cold, stomach and flu virus. 80 people took part, one had the virus. Nobody knew which one. Then they all went about their business in an office environment. The study found that more than half of commonly touched surfaces in an office – like doorknobs, copy machine buttons, the office refrigerator – can become infected with a virus when a single person in the office is ill. More germ hot spots include the coffee pot handle in the break room, telephones, desktops and tabletops.
Researchers swabbed surfaces and hands at the end of the work day. By then, the cold and flu viruses, known for their short survival time, had dissipated, but the stomach virus had continued to spread, infecting up to 70 percent of surfaces tested.
When employees were provided free tissues, disinfecting wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer, the risk of infection dropped below 10 percent.
The study also delivers another important message, stay home when you get sick.
On average, 80 percent of people say they will go to work sick, and when they do, they not only spread germs to others but can cost a company about $280 in lost productivity.