CLEVELAND – Do you ever think about cleaning your office?
According to Cleveland Clinic’s Dan Allan, M.D., our work environments are literally covered in germs and bacteria.
And many times, germs can be found in the places where we eat.
“Bacteria are going to be everywhere, so if you don’t wash your hands before eating, or if you’re touching any other surface that could be contaminated, you’re likely to get sick,” said Dr. Allan. “There’s certain germs that can live for weeks, on a surface, such as a norovirus, so you really do have to try to keep your environment, especially your eating area, clean.”
Dr. Allan said germs are most likely to be found on items that are touched by many people.
This includes refrigerator handles, microwave buttons, elevator buttons, door handles – even the office water cooler.
Once you’ve touched something, you can bring germs back to your desk – so your keyboard, phones, and computer mouse are all subject to contamination.
While it’s impossible to completely avoid contact with all germs – Dr. Allan said there is a way to keep them from getting you sick.
He said we tend to lean on our hands, and touch our eyes, which makes it easy for germs to pass from our hands right into our bodies. So if you can avoid touching your face, you can really cut down the likelihood of those germs making you sick.
He adds that nothing stops germs, dead in their tracks, better than good hand hygiene.
“The vast majority of your illnesses are going to be from your own hands,” said Dr. Allan. “Hand-washing properly, with enough time, with enough soap, with enough lather, or hand sanitizer – if that’s all you have available – and making sure you wash your hands before you touch your face or before you eat, will be your best bet to avoid sickness.”
Dr. Allan also said it doesn’t hurt to carry your spring cleaning routine to work with you.
Giving your personal work space a good, thorough cleaning can help knock out germs, as well as indoor allergens.