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Preventing the Spread of Covid-19 at the Office

What are some ways you can prevent the spread of germs in the workplace?

Nashville, Ark. – One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is proper hand washing. Hand washing helps to prevent 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. 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. (Please note: This number may not include coronavirus germs.) 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. This would include the telephone and your desk. Read the label of the product you are using to make sure it is a disinfectant. Don’t forget your cell phone too!

            If you haven’t already, get in the habit of cleaning the computer keyboard and the mouse each morning before you turn on your computer.

            If you have your own printer, add it to the list of morning tasks. If you share a printer, you need to disinfect it after each use to prevent the spread of germs.

            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.

 Health officials are encouraging us to get our flu shot early. They are very concerned with impact of the flu and Covid-19. Do your part and keep yourself and your office healthy.

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. You can also check out our Covid-19 resources at

Recipe of the Week

            Nothing says fall better than pumpkin! Here is a recipe you can make to satisfy the pumpkin lover in you! This recipe was shared by a co-worker, Katie Cullum, County Extension Agent-Family Consumer Science in White County.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins

1 ½ cups flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

¾ cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 cup pumpkin puree

¾ cup low-fat milk

1/3 cup oil


¼ cup quick oats

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon melted butter

1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

            Wash your hands with soap and water. Spray mini-muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or use liners. Preheat oven to 400⁰F.

            In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

            Break egg into a small bowl. Wash hands with soap and water after cracking raw egg. Add pumpkin puree, milk, and oil to egg. Mix well.

            Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full.

            Mix topping ingredients. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffins. Bake mini-muffins for 8 to 12 minutes or until evenly browned. 

Note: Make your own pumpkin pie spice mix by mixing 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground allspice and ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Keep in an airtight container. These muffins can also be made in regular size muffin tins. You will need to increase baking time to 15 to 18 minutes.

Nutrition Information per Mini-Muffin: Calories 69; total fat 2.4g; saturated fat 0.4g; sodium 96mg; total carbohydrates 11g; total sugars 5g; protein 1.3g.

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.