Most people have a healthy respect for, if not outright fear of, public bathrooms. Caution is applied so there’s minimal touching of doors, sinks, and of course the toilet seat. Between the caution, frequent cleanings, and no touch devices, bathrooms actually aren’t so bad, and may not be what you need to worry about—instead you should focus on your office.
Desks, keyboards, phones, and the office kitchen are covered in germs, according to a new study. Most office workers pulled admitted to cleaning their desk once a month or never, with few cleaning regularly.
The big issue is that everytime someone is coming on sick, with stomach issues, cold, flu, whatever—they aren’t just spreading their germs, those germs are being left to incubate.
Even inconsequential actions, like a sneeze not because you’re sick, just a tickle, are laying a few nasty germs down in a place they can grow.
Your lunch may have too few germs for you to care about, but if you ate it at your desk, a handful of microbes might blossom over the next few weeks into a stomach bug.
Here’s the other thing, most of the germs that accumulate in a space like your desk are “harmless”, in that they’re just a part of your natural microbiome, and not giving you the flu. Things don’t need to be sterile, but the microbiome isn’t to be completely dismissed, either. Scientists are now attributing a whole host of chronic health conditions to the composition of those bacteria, including weight and mental health. It’s conceivable that enough contact with a grumpy coworkers desk could rub off some grumpiness, so to speak.
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