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Preventing the Spread of Germs at the Office

The following tips will help you stay healthy at your workplace.

Nashville, Ark. – Proper hand washing and preventing the spread of germs is more important now than ever. Just turn on the news or pick up a newspaper and you are sure to see at least one segment devoted to preventing the spread of germs. While you may be aware of proper hand washing, you may not have thought of the number of germs that are in the workplace. In a study conducted by University of Arizona, the workplace has its share of germs. Here are some interesting places that germs can be found.

            Telephones can have up to 25,127 germs per square inch. Computer keyboards may have 3,295 germs per square inch. And the computer mouse has up to 1,676 germs per square inch. According to the American Cleaning Institute and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, here are some tips to help you stay healthy at the workplace.

            When it comes to spreading infectious diseases, proper hand washing is the number one defense. Routinely wash your hands with soap often during the day. Make time to wash your hands when you arrive at work, before and after lunch, after using the restroom, and in between meetings. Proper hand washing means turning on the water (warm is best), using soap and rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds, rinsing and then drying. Turn the faucet off with your paper towel after you have dried your hands. Use that paper towel or another one to open the door.

            Because germs can be transmitted from almost anything you come in contact with, keep a surface cleaner or disinfecting spray or wipes handy for wiping down those surfaces you have the most contact with. Be sure to read the label of any product you are using, before you use it, to make sure it won’t damage the surfaces and also to make sure it kills the germs that lead to cold and flu.

            Before you begin to clean any electrical office equipment, computer, keyboard, printer, etc., make sure the power is turned off. Also never spray cleaner directly onto any part of the computer. Spray it on a cloth, and then gently wipe.

Clean the keyboard, mouse and office printer each day. Use a cleaning wipe or cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner.

            What about the telephone?Even if you are the only one using it, it’s still a great place for germs to hide and enter the body through the mouth, ear or nose. Clean it daily with a wipe or a hard surface disinfectant cleaner.

            Clean the doorknobs of your office regularly. Invest in disinfecting wipes to use. You might also keep a can of disinfectant spray in your office to spray on your trash can and other surfaces.

            Employers can and should provide their employees with personal cleaning supplies such as wipes, sprays and disinfectants to keep their personal environment clean and healthy. Employers also should post signs encouraging proper hand washing. Send out regular e-mails to office employees encouraging proper hygienic practices at work and home to help prevent the spread of sickness.

            Finally, if you are sick, stay home! Don’t spread your sickness with others at the office.

            Now is the time to be thinking about cold and flu season. Health officials are encouraging us to get our flu shot early. While everyone should get a flu shot, doing what we can at home and the office to prevent the spread of germs is important too! Do your part and keep yourself and your office healthy this flu season!

            For more information on preventing the spread of germs, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            Do you like bread pudding? Here is a recipe that is a fall favorite. This recipe is healthier than traditional bread puddings and is a perfect ending to a great family dinner.

Bread Pudding

10 slices whole wheat bread

1 egg

3 egg whites

1 ½ cups skim milk

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

2 teaspoons sugar

            Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Lay the slices of bread in the baking dish in two rows, overlapping them like shingles.

            In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the egg, egg whites, milk ¼ cup sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the bread.

            In a small bowl sir together the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and 2 teaspoons sugar. Sprinkle the spiced sugar over the bread pudding.

            Bake the pudding for 30 to 35 minutes, until it has browned on top and is firm to the touch. Serve warm or at room temperature, with warm apple-raisin sauce.

Apple-Raisin Sauce

1 ¼ cups apple juice

½ cup apple butter

2 Tablespoons molasses

½ cup raisins

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon orange zest (optional)

            Stir all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Let the sauce simmer 5 minutes. Yields: 2 cups sauce

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.