Study Shows Germs Spread Fast at the Office

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


  • Peter Grace

    It would be great if all employers offered paid sick leave. Generally people don't take leave when they are ill as they cannot afford to. As a result, they spread the illness. They are not selfish. They do want to do the right thing by supporting their families/responsibilities.

  • Marco Hernandez

    A study is needed to determine the real culprit: Airborne Viruses? That’s how they get all over! “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.” Covering your cough is like putting your thumb on the end of a water hose. Might as well put the virus in a spray paint gun and spray the office. Try the method below. It really works !

    The simple practice explained below would reduce the number of employees that would become sick.
    When one of our children would come home from school ill, we would all become ill although we washed our hands; covered our coughs, coughed into tissues, napkins, shoulders, elbows & shirt sleeves. We tried all the usual medical advice. That never worked because you have to dissipate the tremendous pressure and speed of the cough or sneeze. Sneezes have been measured at over 100 miles per hour. If you cannot slow it down and trap it, you will surely spread it into the air. They are, after all, known as airborne viruses.
    If employees would wear a cotton T-shirt when Ill, or any type of shirt could be made to work; they would simply reach under their chin for the collar of the T-shirt and pull it snugly over their nose and mouth and sneeze or cough into the space created between their torso and the T-shirt. This readily available filter would dissipate the pressure, slow down and trap the atomized microscopic viruses into the netting of the T-Shirt.
    If everyone was responsible for their illness and used the T-shirt method along with the standard medical advice, the spread of airborne viruses would be greatly reduced.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.