startup-849804_640With this year’s overwhelming flu activity reaching every corner of the nation, it’s important to remain educated on the potential hot spots and preventative measures to avoid flu-related germs. Doctor’s offices, school classrooms, the gym, and even your workplace are among the top culprits for contracting seasonal influenza. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American adult spends more hours during the week at their place of work than anywhere else — including their own home. With this in mind, American Family Care seeks to highlight the germiest places lurking around your office and ways to protect yourself while you put in your hours.

The Break Room

Did you know average germs linger on surfaces for up to 72 hours? Such figures might make you think twice about hanging around the office break room. Heating up your lunch in the microwave, indulging in the candy jar, and topping off your cup of joe are all activities we likely do on a daily basis. However, coming in contact with these surfaces may compromise our health if we don’t take the necessary precautions.

The next time you reach for the refrigerator door handle, kitchen sponge, or turn on the faucet, it may be good practice to use a paper towel as a barrier between you and unwanted germs. And as always, it’s recommended you wash your hands after touching these surfaces, especially before eating!

The Restroom

While we all want to believe each and every one of our co-workers washes their hands throughout the day, this is unfortunately not the case. Studies show only five percent of people wash their hands correctly — that is, long enough to kill harmful bacteria. YIKES!

The toilet seat and handle, faucet, doorknob, light switches and even the soap dispenser are all compromised surfaces in your office’s restroom. After washing your hands with warm, soapy water, limit the surfaces you touch by using your elbow or a paper towel to open the door and switch off the lights.

Your Own Desk

Disinfecting your desk area is a good habit, especially during cold and flu season. Your office phone, keyboard, mouse, pens, and cell phone should be cleaned daily to avert spreading germs throughout the office. In addition, keep hand sanitizer close by, say no to snacking or eating lunch at your desk, and refrain from sharing office supplies with your co-workers.

Common Areas

Office common areas such as vending machines, elevators, copy machines, printers, railings, and water fountains are all known surfaces that harbor pesky germs. Again, use the paper towel trick here to bypass contact, capitalize on hand sanitizer stations throughout the office, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face!

Knowing which surfaces in your office are so-called breeding grounds for germs can help you implement a plan centered around routine disinfecting and preventative action — minimizing your chances of coming down with the illness that’s taken the lives of many this year. If you find yourself missing work, sick with seasonal influenza, visit American Family Care, to avoid long wait times and receive personalized care.