Where are the germ hot spots in your workplace? - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Where are the germ hot spots in your workplace?

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TYLER (KYTX) -  Do you know who's most likely to get you sick this cold and flu season? The answer is, your coworkers!

It's all part of a recent study by workplace consulting firm, Kimberly-Clark Professional.

In every work place there are a germ "hot spots." If you work in a place that has multiple floors, a big popular hot spot is the button of an elevator. You need to look out for other hot spots like that where you work.

It's a typical fall day in the office. You walk into work, touching the door handle. You head to the break room and pour some coffee. Throughout the day, you type on your key board, make some phone calls, and use the copy machine. 

Viola'! With just a few simple daily activities, you've racked up germs from all of your office's hot spots.

"The flu and stomach viruses and all that stuff which is highly contagious," says Salvation Army Communications Director Chantel Millin.

In that recent Kimberly-Clark Professional study, 60 percent of Americans surveyed admit they go to work when they're sick.

"That's believable actually, because most people, unless you're literally dying, it's in us I guess as Americans, that we go to work! So if you have a sniffle, you think, 'oh it's okay'," Millin says.

Millin knows it's hard to miss work over a sniffle,  which is why it's so common for coworkers to share illnesses.

"Most people are infectious before they start getting sick, and they're spreading it around," says Trinity Mother Frances Chief Quality Officer Doctor Meg Reitmeyer.

We asked her, how to break the work sickness cycle?

"Well, your mother was right. You should always wash your hands! That's really the most important thing because most of it gets spread because people sneeze and cough and instinctively cover their mouth and then without thinking they touch something else," Reitmeyer says.

For salvation army employees, health is a serious matter.

"We have our lodge here so we have a lot of residents, up to 210, that can be in our facility at one time," Millin says. "That's outside of the employees. So if we're sick, and we come and get each other sick, we have a much higher risk of spreading that to our lodge residents."

With Salvation Army kettle season coming up, she's not taking any chances.

Reitmeyer says the best way to keep people healthy in your workplace is to have hand sanitizer all around to make sure everyone is as safe as possible. Try not to shake hands with anyone if you feel your getting sick.

If you're already sick, Dr. Reitmeyer says the best thing to do is stay home. We live in a world of technology, so you might be able to ask your boss if you can e-mail, call in from home, or use something like Skype. 

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