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A Different Sort of Virus Protection

Whether you're trying to avoid swine flu or the common cold, computer areas public and private pose a potential risk for infection. Do you know the four germiest office surfaces and how to disinfect them?

A study by the University of Arizona a few years ago found that the germiest workplace surfaces are (in descending order):

  • phones
  • keyboards
  • computer mice
  • desktops

Surprisingly (for me, anyway!), women's workspaces were generally dirtier than men's. There are several factors believed to contribute to this discrepancy: women tend to have more "stuff" in their work area (photos, plants, etc.), and thus more potential contaminants; women may eat at their desks more often, leaving traces of food that can bring on bacteria and mold; and women may attempt to "clean" more often, but end up merely spreading germs around instead of killing them.

Before you get too smug, though, guys, your wallets are far dirtier than anything mentioned above, four times more than women's purses. In fact, they were found to be the germiest items in the office, period.

So, how to clean these surfaces? An antibacterial wipe will work on any of them. Keep a pack in your drawer, and wipe things down every couple of days, more often if you're not feeling well, or if you share office equipment or space with others.

To keep contamination to a minimum, wash your hands frequently during the day, always before eating, and after using the restroom, sneezing, coughing, etc. Don't eat over your computer, where crumbs can lodge, and clean up spills thoroughly right away.

In all of IT's labs and training rooms we provide hand sanitizer dispensers that we recommend using before using the computers (to prevent transmitting germs to the computers) and after you're done (to prevent you from taking the germs with you).

Stay healthy!


Contact Us

Information Technology
Harold F. Johnson Library Center
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Fax 413.559.5419

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