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Can You Guess the Dirtiest Places in Your Office?
To assess the cleanliness of the typical office building, researchers sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Professional swabbed nearly 5,000 surfaces of manufacturing facilities, law firms, insurance companies, healthcare companies and call centers with about 3,000 employees. The dirtiest surfaces turned out to be in break rooms: on the handles of sink faucets, microwaves and refrigerators (that reminds me: I went into our office fridge to get milk!). When you think about it, this isn't that surprising...but how often do we take the time to think about viruses when heating up our leftovers for lunch?
The Kimberly-Clark web site has an amusing-slash-alarming feature where you can roll your mouse over different office "hot spots" and learn germ facts. Check out the water cooler: Viruses can live from 20 minutes to 2 hours on surfaces like these. And the elevator buttons: "Just one finger can spread germs throughout an entire building."
But don't panic--and don't think you can hide out in your cubicle: the study showed that we bring a lot of these germs back with us to our computer mice and keyboards. As one of the microbiologists who consulted on the on the study advised, you just need to be as diligent as possible about washing your hands, using hand sanitizer where it's available, and wiping down surfaces with disinfectant wipes.
You could even use this new information to your advantage: those peanut M&Ms in the vending machine probably seem a lot less appealing now that you know you'll have to brave germ-saturated buttons in order to get to them...
What's better: Hand sanitizers vs. hand-washing?
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