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Study Shows Germs Spread Fast at the Office

Break out the hand sanitizer! A new study shows that, if you work with people who choose to come to the office sick, their germs are everywhere.

Scientists at the University of Arizona found that 50 percent of the most commonly touched office surfaces can become infected with a sick person’s germs in just a few hours.

Those surfaces include things like the coffee pot handle, tabletops, doorknobs and phones.

The researchers had 80 people go about their normal workday business in an office at the university.

At the beginning of the day, most received water droplets on their hands, but one of the participants got droplets of fake virus that acted like cold, flu and stomach flu viruses.

More than half of the office surfaces had traces of the fake viruses after four hours.

And by the end of the day, 70 percent of the tested surfaces had traces of the fake stomach flu virus (cold and flu viruses have a shorter survival time).

Researchers said that the risk of getting sick from one of the fake viruses was between 40 and 90 percent.

In a second study, free tissues, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes were offered to the employees, and the risk of infection went down 10 percent.