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In the Office: Viruses Spread Faster Than You Think

By Blue Cross NC | September 10, 2014 | Health Conditions

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Enterovirus D68 has made news all across the world after an outbreak in the Midwest. In the last few days, the virus popped up in over ten states, causing symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and hypoxemia, particularly in children. With over hundreds of cases, Entervirus D68 has put children in both emergency rooms and intensive care units.

And while much of the coverage has been surrounding children, it’s important to remember that viruses spread everywhere—not just at schools and playgrounds. The office can be just as bad. In fact, a recent study reported by The Washington Post showed that “Only two to four hours after being deposited on a single doorknob or tabletop, viruses were present on more than half of workers and visitors in the building, as well as more than half of the surfaces they would commonly touch.”

Thankfully, there is a way to combat this overwhelming contamination. The research also indicated that the use of hand sanitizer and antiviral cleaning wipes considerably cut down on the spread of virus. The Washington Post went on to explain:

When just half of workers agreed to use hand sanitizer or antiviral cleaning wipes (the sanitizer whenever they went out in public and returned to the office, and the wipes once a day at their desk), the number of contaminated surfaces fell by 80 percent or more.

Other common sense precautions include washing hands with hot soap and water and taking particular care after visiting shared spaces like bathrooms and breakrooms. As much as possible, avoid unnecessary close contact with others, including shaking hands. You can also be a good citizen and take the initiative to clean surfaces in breakrooms that might be overlooked in the course of the day with antiviral wipes.

For more information about Enterovirus D68, you can visit the CDC.