Whenever you set off to work, most of what preoccupies your mind might be your day’s schedule, or the traffic, or other matters. You will do yourself some good by being aware of all the potential microbes that come your way as you transit through the morning rituals. Then you can take simple steps to avoid potential harm from all those bugs.
If you take public transport, you are inevitably exposed to a multitude of bugs. Bus door handles, supportive rails, arm rests and the seats are all full of bugs thanks to being handled by many people. Each person brings along some bugs, and deposits them wherever they touch. Then you come along and pick some, and deposit some of your own as well. All the money changing hands via the bus conductor is tainted too. By the time your trip is done, your hands are bursting with millions of undesirable microbes. Private car transport, or taking a cab isn’t much better either. Way out?Carry a hand sanitizer, or wash hands soon as you get to a water point.
The office harbors bugs of its own too. If taking the stairs, or using the lift, you inevitably pick up bugs from those who came before you. Tens of people will have supported themselves on the staircase railings, or pressed the elevator buttons before your arrival. Their microbes will be waiting for you as you press the same buttons. One study showed elevator buttons harbored more bugs than toilets! Why? Because toilets get cleaned more often compared to elevator buttons.
If you have shared offices, or a common door to your office corridors, you will pick many bugs as you let yourself in. The door handles and knobs will be touched by many people, each leaving an imprint of bugs along for you to handle as you come in. There will be more waiting on your computer’s keyboard, and on shared phones within the offices. Do yourself some good and disinfect your hands as soon as you settle down, especially before eating any snacks you may have brought along. Or before scratching any exposed parts of your skin, or touching your mouth, or eyes. A hand sanitizer or soap and water are good enough as disinfectants.
The office coffee and water dispenser rooms are havens of bugs. Poorly washed coffee cups and re-usable paper cups are handled by too many people, with varying degrees of hygiene. A study disgustingly reported contamination with fecal bacteria in office coffee rooms! Way out? Bring your own coffee cup, or clean one yourself before use.
Don’t get paranoid and keep yourself locked up, or gloved up all the time. If you practice basic hand sensitization at every opportunity, the unavoidable contact with bugs everywhere and anywhere will not harm you.Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist. firstname.lastname@example.org