Where is the Flu In Your Office?

Fighting the flu can be difficult, especially when you work in an office, in close quarters with coworkers who may be infected.

Dr. Saji Pillai with UrgentCare2Go made a trip to the NBC 5 office to show us some of the places we can encounter the flu.

“On a non-porous area like a counter top or a computer screen or a telephone up to 24 hours it is contagious,” Pillai explained. “Your clothes or your sweater or your jacket or what you wear to work about eight to 12 hours.”

The outside of the bathroom door could be the most problematic. The bathroom is where people go to blow their noses and who washes their hands to go into the bathroom?

Pillai also lists the break room area as an area of concern. While shared-food is one of the best parts of the workday, it could also harbor the virus.

“It may not be the best time to share food. I honestly told my kids today ‘I know you guys swap food. Let's not do that for the next two weeks,’” Pillai said.

Pillai said it’s not necessarily the food or coffee that you should worry about, but rather all the hands that are using the utensils and vessels holding the foods or drinks.

The office copy machine is used without a second thought, but it is an item that everyone touches and rarely is sanitized.

We often remember to wipe down phones, but forget about the buttons on the conference call devises.

The arm rests of the chairs in meeting rooms are a good place to absently put your hands down and then move them to your face. Pillai said we touch our faces around 16 times an hour, providing a pathway for the virus.

There are several things that we do without thinking in the workplace that can bring us into contact with the virus such as passing paperwork around or sharing pens and staplers.

Where you place your purse could also become problematic. How often do you put it on the floor, a counter or someone’s desk during a conversation? You could become transit system for the flu.

“You don't need to be a germophobe about it. I don't mean to make you all excited or scared about who has the flu. I think you just need to be conscious about it,” Pillai said. “If you have hand sanitizer near your desk just use it.”

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