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Did you know that the desktop is one of the germiest places in the office and that 20-30% of women’s handbags have fecal bacteria underneath?

Or that the average work station is jam packed with more germs per square inch than the office toilet, a recent study in University of Arizona revealed.

Research to determine germ hot zones — areas that are prime habitats for viruses causing colds and flu — found typical office phones and desktops, including computer keyboards and mice, have up to 25,000 bacteria per square inch compared to a mere 49 bacteria per square inch on workplace toilet seats.

Office phones, desktops, computer keyboards and mouse, have up to 25,000 bacteria per square inch compared to a mere 49 bacteria per square inch on toilet seats.

A recent survey by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention exposed some disturbing hand hygiene trends. It was discovered that one in three adults don’t wash their hands after using the toilet. One in four don’t wash after changing a baby’s diaper. Fewer than half wash after handling pets or cleaning up after them, only one in three wash after sneezing or coughing and hardly anyone washes after handling money, a major carrier of disease.

With more than 80% of infections carried through the environment, work desks become more susceptible to transmission of germs.

University of Arizona microbiologist, Dr. Charles Gerba says that coughing and sneezing can leave behind “a minefield of viruses” that can live on a surface for up to three days.

According to Health Canada, about 25 per cent of us are felled by the flu each season and 26 per cent get flu shots.

Here are 3 tips to keep your work area as clean as your toilet:

1. Avoid eating in your work desk. If you want to continue your work, make sure to clean

your desk afterwards. Always wipe before and after you eat, to clean any spills right away.

2. Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Hand sanitizers

are an excellent addition to hand washing.

3. Wet the hands with warm water, apply soap, lather for 20 seconds, rinse, towel dry and turn

the tap off with the towel.

Always remember, Stay home if you’re sick, avoid those who are ill, see a healthcare

provider when needed, get regular physical activity and maintain healthy nutrition. Manage

your stress, get enough sleep and wash your hands.