We’re heading into full-on flu season, and the fact that we have to work in air-conditioned offices and breath air shared with less healthy colleagues often gets blamed for the rapid spread of the disease. But the culprit is just as likely to be a door handle.
Picture by Iain Cuthbertson
“The germs that cause illness tend to be on your phone or your desktop,” Dr Charles Gerber told Lifehacker. “Germs move around pretty fast in an office. We’ve done tracer experiments with a cold virus on a doorknob, and it takes two to four hours to spread all through the building
Shaking hands with a sneezing colleague is also risky. “Hands are much quicker than sneezes in spreading diseases. You’re more likely to get a common cold touching a surface someone has touched than kissing them.”
Gerber, who uses the moniker ‘Dr Germ’, was in Australia recently on a sponsored trip by White King Bleach, and his visit attracted a certain amount of controversy for overstating the need to use bleach in your home. When it comes to colds, avoiding surfaces that might have been touched by other sufferers is still wise advice. Even better: don’t head into the office in the first place if you have a cold or flu. Whatever the means of spreading it, you’ll reduce the odds by not being there.