In a typical workday, office workers come into contact with a multitude of surfaces that can harbor germs and bacteria, potentially leading to illnesses such as the common cold, E. coli, salmonella, and more. According to infectious disease expert Gabriela Andujar Vazquez, certain parts of the office can be particularly contaminated. While many may think of shared areas like doorknobs and communal tables as the worst offenders, personal spaces such as desks and keyboards can also be breeding grounds for germs. To combat this, it is recommended to occasionally wipe down your desk and keyboard with disinfectant spray.

Keyboards, a tool that office workers use constantly throughout the day, can harbor over 3,000 organisms per square inch. Dr. Ron Brown advises that workers who bring lunch to their desks without washing their hands may be transferring harmful bacteria directly to their mouths via their keyboards. It is suggested to regularly clean your keyboard in addition to your desk to help minimize the spread of germs in the office.

Door handles, being frequently touched by a large number of people, are deemed as one of the germiest places in an office. Using hand hygiene practices such as washing hands with soap and hot water, using hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching your face after touching door handles can help prevent the spread of illnesses. Similarly, shared items in the lunchroom like the microwave and refrigerator should be wiped down with disinfectant wipes and hands should be washed before handling food to avoid contamination.

Common areas such as water fountains and bathrooms can also harbor bacteria, with some studies showing that water coolers may be bacteria hot spots. It is recommended to invest in a home filtration system and bring your own reusable bottle to stay hydrated in the office. High-traffic areas like elevators and vending machines can also be breeding grounds for harmful bacteria, requiring regular cleaning and hand hygiene practices to prevent the spread of illnesses.

Smartphones, which are constantly used in various settings throughout the workday, have been found to be dirty and potential carriers of harmful pathogens. It is advised to sanitize phones often and avoid handling them while eating. By implementing regular sanitation practices and proper hand hygiene, office workers can help protect themselves and their colleagues from illnesses caused by bacteria and germs in the workplace.

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