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The Top 5 Germiest Items in Your Office, According to a Doctor

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Give these office items a good clean!

Most of us spend at least 40 hours a week at our workplace, and it’s natural to get comfortable in a space that we spend that much time in every week, but getting too comfortable at work could lead to being exposed to some pretty nasty germs.

We asked a noted expert on the matter, Dr. Charles Gerba, for his help on identifying some of the germiest items in an office.

The Germiest Items at Your Office

1. Desktop

If you’re like most Americans, you spend most of your working hours sitting at your desk. You may think of it as a haven since it’s your personal space, but you’d be wrong. According to Gerba, “You can find 400 times more bacteria on a desktop than a toilet seat in an office.”

2. Reusable Coffee Cups

Surely something you wash — or at least rinse — fairly often wouldn’t make the list of the germiest things in your workplace, right? Think again. Sadly, your coffee cup is laden with bacteria. “Coffee cups are cleaned in communal areas where you share tea clothes, rags, or sponges, and you wipe germs into them all the time,” Gerba said.

3. Keyboards and Other Tech

Your computer is about as integral to your day as your very presence in the workplace. With that in mind, it would stand to reason that you’re probably keeping it clear and tidy. Unfortunately, it seems that isn’t always the case. Gerba says, “Computer equipment in general gets heavily contaminated because they’re new innovations and people haven’t thought about keeping them hygienic.”

4. Phones

This one is true whether you’re in the office, at home, or walking around outside. Your cell phone is a bacteria magnet. Don’t believe us? Gerba has the truth on the matter: “These are high-touch areas that are used a lot, and people seldom disinfect or clean phones.”

5. Handbags or Purses

This may shock you, but your handbags aren’t safe from germs. If you really think about it, it’s obvious why these are dirty. By putting them on the floor of most any place we go, including the restroom, handbags are a carnival of germs. “Handbags get really contaminated on the bottom,” said Gerba. “In our studies, somewhere between 20 and 30 percent have fecal bacteria on the bottom of them.”

Is it possible to avoid all the germs hanging out in your workplace? Well, aside from keeping your area and hands as clean as possible with disinfectant and hand sanitizer, there’s almost no way to stay germ-free in such a public space. But you can treat symptoms of a cold or flu as soon as you start to feel under the weather. Pop a Theraflu PowerPod into a single-serve brewing machine and brew up powerful medicine in the form of a soothing, hot liquid.