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The germiest places in your workplace

Posted at 1:05 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 17:53:22-05

INDIANAPOLIS — This probably won't surprise you, but most germs are living at your desk.

What I did find surprising though is women's desks often contain twice the amount of germs as their male coworkers because of purses, makeup cases, and also phones.

"When we're in a room all together, you know it takes two to six feet for somebody to sneeze, and all of that droplet flies everywhere," Mary Kay Foster, a registered nurse at IU Health Methodist Hospital, said.

Foster says they saw a dip in flu cases over the holidays, and it's probably because everyone was home and not spreading the sickness at work or at school.

"Hand hygiene is really important whether it's using a hand gel in your pocket or washing your hands more frequently," Foster said.

Offices are covered in germs, so make sure you are taking extra precautions this flu season. Try to avoid touching doorknobs and handles with your bare hands and also be aware of shared surfaces like the microwave, coffee maker, the printer, and especially the bathroom.

"It (the flu) hits you very fast, and it will last two to five days if you are relatively healthy," Foster said.

Foster says you are contagious about 24 hours before symptoms start, so it's important that if you are feeling ill, you don't go to work.

"The symptoms would include fever, chills, ache, body joint pain, muscle pain," Foster said. "It can include nausea, vomiting, cough; you just feel like you've been run over by a truck basically."

And here's something to keep in mind as we continue through this flu season: The average person touches their face 16 times an hour, so think before you touch anything. Especially your face.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports nine Hoosiers have died from the flu this season. All of them were people over the age of 25.