Did you know that the typical office can be inhabited by more than 500 types of germs? If you’re a lady, you have a reason to feel less concerned. Researchers have found out that the desks and work spaces of men tend to be contaminated by a bigger number of bacteria than the desks of their female coworkers.
You probably know that some germs are a bit scary while others can coexist peacefully with human beings. How about the bacteria found in the office? Let’s take a look at some of the most common varieties.
Sounds scary and it can be problematic. Staphylococcus aureus loves the keyboard and it’s one of the bacteria that can cause infections. It’s interesting to point out that this bacterium is starting to develop resistance towards certain kinds of antibiotics.
Also known as staf for short, these bacteria can be found in up to 25 percent of people without causing health problems. At room temperature, staf will multiply quickly. Thermal processing destroys the bacterium completely. Some of the best disinfectants that can kill Staphylococcus aureus include bleach, Lysol, concentrated hydrogen peroxide and even white vinegar.
This is one of the most common bacterial varieties found in the office. These are both terrestrial and aquatic bacteria. Though predominantly found in the soil, actinobacteria can easily spread and multiply on the surfaces in the office.
The most harmful members of this group are the Actinomycetales bacteria. These bacteria can cause various medical problems, among which an infection called actinomycosis.
Actinobacteria can once again be destroyed completely through thermal processing or by wiping surfaces completely with bleach. Using anti-bacterial wipes isn’t the best approach but if you don’t have any other solution, these will do the trick for the day.
Unfortunately, some harmful bacteria that we’re more or less familiar with can also be found in the typical office. E-coli has been found on office keyboards and on shared equipment like telephones, printers, scanners and even doorknobs.E-coli bacteria typically live in the intestines of healthy individuals and are harmless. There are a few, strains, however, that can cause nasty infections and that can easily spread in the typical office.
The symptoms of an E-coli infection include abdominal cramping, nausea and diarrhea. Most healthy adults will recover from the infection within one week. To reduce the risk of contamination and kill E-coli in the office, wash your hands frequently, use anti-bacterial soaps and disinfect the equipment that you touch frequently.
This is another bacterium having a rather scary name. Poor personal hygiene and the failure to wash hands can easily spread Heliobacter pylori in the office. Just like E-coli, this bacterium can cause gastrointestinal problems. The infection increases the risk of experiencing gastric ulcers and even stomach cancer.
Just like in the case of all other office bacteria, washing hands several times per day (especially before having a meal) will be sufficient to reduce the risk of contamination.
We’ve saved the worst for last. Norovirus is very contagious and since it’s not a bacterium, it can’t be killed by anti-bacterial products.
A norovirus infection is characterized by severe GI upset, diarrhea and vomiting. Close contact with an infected person and with surfaces on which the virus is found can contribute to spreading the medical issue. Norovirus infections are very common in closed environments that feature people sharing the same space like schools, nursing homes and… yes, you’ve guessed it – offices.
Impeccable personal hygiene is the only way to prevent a norovirus infection.
Since you’re sharing the office with each other, it’s important that everyone is on board when it comes to getting rid of bacteria. Frequent professional office cleaning is the first step towards preventing contamination. Maintaining equipment disinfected will also make it a lot easier to enjoy a healthy work environment.
All that you have to do is build an inventory of disinfecting soap, wipes and bleach. If everyone builds a habit of using those on a daily basis, the risk of infections at the workplace will be taken down to a minimum.
By Cliff Derksen
Owner of First Impressions Janitorial