Did you know?
- A keyboard has 60 times more germs than a toilet.
- Cold and flu germs from a sneeze can stay on a surface for 48 hours.
- Light switches get up to 217 bacteria per square inch.
Gross, isn’t it? Here are seven tips for staying germ-free in the workplace or the classroom!
Wash Your Hands!
Sounds simple right? But a lot of us only think to wash our hands after using the bathroom. Well, get that out of your head! In addition to washing your hands after using the bathroom you should wash them before you eat, after using communal objects (staples, the fax machines, etc), and after sneezing or coughing.
No Sink? Sanitize!
I know it sounds crazy to go to the bathroom every time you want a snack or need to use a scissors. What’s a simple solution? Use hand sanitizer! You can get a bottle of it at Wal-Mart or Walgreens for a bargain. Bath and Body Works also has mini sanitizers that can go on your keys. I have one and my coworkers were very thankful for it after our team-building exercises a few weeks ago!
Your grade-school teachers are going to get upset with me for this one. We have always been told that sharing is caring. But when it comes to cold and flu season sharing is your worst enemy! Some things you should avoid sharing with friends or coworkers include: food, drinks, pencils, pens, or your phone. Have some extra pencils and pens around in your office for others to use if you NEED to share.
Avoid Germ Areas
A simple way to avoid germs is staying away from their hangout spots! Whenever possible, avoid directly touching door handles, sink handles, water fountains, and toilet seats. Use paper towel to open bathroom doors and turning on sinks whenever possible. Some restrooms provide deposable covers for toilet seats, but you can always use toilet paper to line the seat. Also bring your own water bottle to avoid placing your mouth on water fountains.
Strengthen Your Immune System
In order to stay healthy you have to take care of your immune system. That means eating healthy, getting quality sleep, taking plenty of vitamins, and exercising on a regular basis. Vitamins C and D are good vitamins to start with (as well as a multivitamin). Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, make sleep your friend, and be active for at least 30 minutes a day.
Look But Don’t Touch!
One of the best ways to stay germ free is keeping your hands to yourself! While you’re at it, keep your hands off of yourself as well. Try to avoid touching your face as much as possible. This means don’t pick at your teeth, no resting your head on your fist, and no rubbing of your eyes or nose. And to be safe, always sanitize.
Wipe It Down
It’s always smart to have some sanitary wipes on hand. Wipe down surfaces such as your phone, chair, computer mouse, keyboard, door handle, and communal objects. You would be surprised by how many germ covered things we touch on a daily basis. Yuck!
If you want more tips on how to stay germ-free or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at MediaCLD@uww.edu and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.
Photos by Heather Schwartz.