Try this, right now.
Lift your keyboard and look underneath. Pretty yuck, huh?
Where did all that come from? How long has it been there? What kind of germs might be living in it? Are you safe?
The short answer is, that’s all you – and ANY germs can make you sick if you’re unlucky.
The usual bad boys are flu and norovirus – the most potent, meaning they’re easiest to catch. And the most common – ready to bring you down over and over again, several times a year.
Oh yeah. And just so you know, flu kills around 14,500 people a year – most of them elderly, but you only need one complication to be included in that number.
Norovirus is even easier to catch (20 particles is all it takes) and makes you wish you were dead – those cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea are the end of the world. If it’s bad, dehydration sets in – and if that goes pear-shaped too, it’s curtains. Around 80 people die from it every year, but diarrhoea can do that all by itself.
Norovirus is a major cause of gastroenteritis world wide, alongside the main villain, the salmonella family of 2,500 bugs. Both are usually to be found on your desk along with campylobacter – another family of horribles, escherichia coli, the shigella tribe of nasties, staphylococcus aureus, bacillus cereus and clostridium perfringens.
Invisible health hazard
That gun is loaded alright – and pointing straight at you.
So how come your desk is so dangerous – up to 400 times more bugged than a toilet seat?
Ah, but we know the toilet is a hazardous place for germs – so the facilities management people are in there like clockwork, cleaning and scrubbing several times a day, sometimes even once an hour.
But they don’t come anywhere near your desk, do they? Never anything more than a quick wipe – with the same cloth that does all the desks. All that confidential stuff, projects on the go – don’t touch or else.
Plus you eat there too – like nearly two-thirds of us do.
Which is where all those crumbs and dust particles come from – last week’s fish and chips, smears of dressing from yesterday’s salad because you were on a health kick, today’s pizza. All over the desk, too small to see – under the keyboard is just where they collect most easily, behind the screen too.
Now try this.
It only takes twenty minutes or so for bacteria reproduce itself. So after a couple of days that germ population has doubled. After a week or so, it’s doubled several times over.
One touch and all kinds of things transfer to your hands – which then touch your face, your eyes, your mouth, because so many of us rest our chin in our hand when we work. Infection by fomites.
Sooner or later you’re going to get it, even if you’re meticulous about washing your hands. And you really don’t want to know how bad we are about forgetting to do that – let alone how to do it properly.
There’s more germs in the air too, stirred up by us moving around. Also brought in by each of us as part of our personal germ-cloud.
We can’t see these either, but we all have a constant aura around us of billions and billions more bacteria, some good, some bad – neutral to us maybe, but a possible health risk to our colleagues with different sensitivities and immunities. Even if we’re well, we can make them sick.
And that doesn’t include the have-a-go heroes among us who drag themselves into work when they ARE sick – driven by pressure of work, or job anxiety, or simply unable to stay away. Gone to work with illness, ready to infect us all.
Looks like there’s more than one gun pointing at us.
Time to get bullet-proof. Strike back at these germs before they get us.
And there’s only one way.
A mop and bucket won’t crack it, especially with all those computers around. It won’t touch the air either, 80% of any room space, where most of the germs are.
It has to be a Hypersteriliser.
Never heard of it? Get ready to kiss sickies goodbye. You might even be able to bundle your sick leave together with your holidays. Take a month off Pingsonbury, you’ve earned it.
The thing looks like a posh wheelie-bin with a nozzle and lights on it, ready to spray the room with hydrogen peroxide – one of the most effective germ-killers there is.
Posh is right, the thing is state of the art. Because it ionises the hydrogen peroxide as it sprays – changing it from an ordinary vapour into a plasma – boosting its performance by releasing hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet.
Give it forty minutes, and the room is totally sterile. No viruses or bacteria, all gone – even on your desk.
Yeah, the dirt and crumbs and dust bunnies are still there – you’ll have to swab those off yourself – with the wipes you keep around so your hands are always clean.
But now there’s no gun – and anyway the bullets are unloaded. You’re safe and so are your colleagues. Breath easy.
Now all you have to worry about are those lunatic drivers on the roads.
Originally posted 2015-11-27 14:44:59.