Cough, splutter, choke.
No doubt about it. You’ve got someone’s second-hand germs.
Well nobody smokes at work, right?
And nobody smokes at home. You haven’t been near a pub or bar – and nobody you know even thinks about it.
So how else have you got this smoker’s-type cough that makes you feel so lousy?
It’s not just cigarette smoke that hangs in the air. And it’s not just stale tobacco that pongs up the place.
Germs can’t read that “No Smoking” sign – but if they could, they’d be laughing.
Because there’s billions and billions of germs all around us, all the time. Oh yes, there are, don’t kid yourself.
But we don’t think of them, do we? Out of sight, out of mind.
Invisible in the air
You can’t see cigarette smoke either, after the first few seconds. And yes, it’s deadly too – but those other germs you can’t see can bring on sickness and misery ten times worse.
Ten times worse than lung cancer?
Take your pick of cholera, typhoid, Ebola, malaria, yellow fever, or whatever.
Or just plain norovirus if you’re lucky – Delhi belly or equivalent. A few days and you’re over it.
But why are you still taking chances?
So far, you’ve escaped the ills of smoking – the cancer, the asthma, the COPD.
No smoke around you – and people respect the law.
But where’s the sign that says “No Germs”? “No Viruses”. “No Bacteria.” “Pathogens will be prosecuted?”
No wonder people go off sick – none of us are doing anything about it.
It is an offence to spread germs in these premises
We’ve gone all legal and outlawed smoke from enclosed spaces, but we’re still doing nothing about the rest.
Look no further than your own office space. How many of you are working in there -20? 30?
And how’s your office hygiene coping with the germs they bring in every day – on their clothes, on their shoes – carried in with their tummies, or breathed out from puffing up the stairs?
No, that nightly go-round with the vacuum cleaner, emptying the waste bins and quick wipe-down of all the desks isn’t going to crack it. In fact germs thrive on moist surfaces, so they quite possibly multiply.
Hazardous? You bet.
Try Googling it.
Might as well call in sick before you start – you’re going to get it, whether you like it or not.
Well no, because our immune systems are accustomed to this kind of abuse. It’s only when we’re down that things happen to us. We over-work, over-eat, have an accident, or get depressed.
The second the body goes out of balance, those germs are in there like a flash.
But of course, that’s if your office isn’t booby-trapped already. Sick building syndrome, legionnaire’s disease – they’re both demonstrations of environmental germs at work.
Boom! That’s you gone.
But only if you let it.
Seeing the light
Companies are starting to wise up to lifting hygiene levels at work. And, gasp, even some government departments.
There you go, germs gone, nary an infection anywhere.
No viruses or bacteria of any kind until the staff rock up tomorrow morning. Then they’re back in force, of course – on their clothes, on their shoes, you get the picture.
But at least the desks are sterile and safe to use. The place is neutral. Nothing lingers in the air or the heating system. The coffee machine and biscuit cupboard are free of all hazards – unless you scald yourself on a latte.
So if you’re going to catch a bug, at least it won’t be off your desk or the photocopier. Except Jones from Accounts had better watch herself, coughing all over everyone like that.
Needs a few days off, poor dear. Passive germs are active in the Underground.