Business

10 Kinds of Germs That Might Be Living in Your Office

Your office may not be as clean as you expected, even though every worker have tried their best (with the help of a janitor, or janitors). Did you know that the average desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat?

There are potentially over 500 of invisible creatures crawling around your desk, and these “co-workers” can cause strep throat, pneumonia, and other conditions that will not only make you miss work, but also cause you to rack up substantial health expenses.

Below is a list of the 10 most commonly found bacteria in office spaces. They are dangerous, but a qualified commercial cleaning company can effectively eradicate all of them in the blink of an eye.

(Warning: The following pictures may be disturbing to some viewers.)

Norovirus

When there is a stomach flu starts circulating through the office, there is norovirus. According to the CDC, this most common form of the “stomach flu” can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

It spreads from person to person easily and quickly. Researchers at the University of Arizona found out that after using the imitation virus to contaminate one commonly touched surface, within two to four hours, between 40 to 60 percent of the surfaces sampled were contaminated with the simulated virus.

Norovirus is commonly found in enclosed spaces, and since it’s a virus, not a bacterium, antibacterial hand sanitizers can’t kill them. Although office cleaning companies can reduce the chance of contracting the norovirus, it’s still the best to have those who aren’t feeling well to take a day off.

Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile, or C.diff for short, is naturally found in around 5% of people’s digestive tract. It can cause illnesses in some individuals.

Staphylococcus aureus

You can find this bacterium on and near keyboards and computer stations. Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for a variety of infections, such as skin infections, pneumonia, and bloodstream infections.

Some strains are even becoming resistant to certain antibiotics (MRSA). Commercial cleaning companies tackle this bacterium by cleaning keyboard and computer station areas with bacteria-killing products.

Firmicutes

Although these groups of bacteria are fairly harmless, too much or too little of these bacteria can upset the natural balance of your gut.

E-Coli

Yes, you might hear about this “co-worker” on the media a lot, and usually, the bacterium is mentioned when it comes to processed or raw foods.

However, it has also been known to present itself in the office. You can find this little “colleague” on shared office equipment such as phones, copiers, scanners, printers, and even handles and doorknobs. It can rapidly spread to multiple areas with ease by poor personal hygiene.

Actinomycetales

Actinomycetales is considered the most common bacterium found in the office. There are harmful variants of this bacterium that is known to cause more severe infections and medical problems.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Often found in your office keyboard, this bacterium might not have much effect if you are fit and healthy. However, for people who are vulnerable, e.g. the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, this “opportunistic” organism can cause serious infections.

Helicobacter pylori

Just like the mentioned “co-worker” E-Coli, Helicobacter pylori also has the ability to spread easily at a rapid pace. It lives in the sticky mucus that lines the stomach, but eventually ends up on keyboards and phones from poor personal hygiene. The bacterium can cause harsh gastrointestinal infections.

Salmonella

Another famous bacterium on the list. Salmonella causes severe food poisoning and infections. It can be deadly to those who are vulnerable. Normally Salmonella can be found in the office fridge and spread when people eat at their desks.

A whopping 57% of workers snack at their desks at least once a day, according to a survey by the American Dietician Association, yet more than 75% of workers “only occasionally” clean their desks before eating and 20% never do. If you don’t want to have a side of bacteria with that lunch, consider contacting an office cleaning company.

Cyanobacterial toxins

Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) produce toxins called cyanotoxins. Certain strains can cause illnesses.

Credit images: Printerland, Insiders Health.