Bacteria are far more abundant at people's desks than office restrooms, and it's the work areas of the fairer sex that harbor the most germs.
Women have three to four times the number of bacteria in, on and around their desks, phones, computers, keyboards, drawers and personal items as men do, according to a new study from University of Arizona germ guru Charles Gerba, professor of soil, water and environmental sciences.
"I thought for sure men would be germier," Gerba said. "But women have more interactions with small children and keep food in their desks. The other problem is makeup."
Women's offices typically looked cleaner, but women tend to have more knickknacks on their desks.
Makeup cases are the top bacteria spot for women's offices, with the phone, purse and desk drawer also common germ homes. Using hand lotion and makeup is a top culprit, with lotion often trapping germs and transferring them, and makeup resulting in a lot of mouth- and face-touching.
Another top cause Gerba found was food, with 75 percent of women keeping munchies in a desk drawer, reports Arizona Daily Star.
According to Xinhuanet, another hot spot for bacteria in men's offices: the personal digital assistant.
"Men tend to play with their Palm Pilots more," Gerba said. "I think they're playing video games or something."
The average office desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average office toilet seat, Gerba said.
Gerba said using a hand sanitizer and using a disinfectant on office surfaces helps, with 25 percent fewer bacteria found on surfaces that were regularly disinfected. Once-a-day use should be sufficient.
"You don't have to go crazy with it, but with the key areas, desktops, phones and keyboards probably need to be disinfected once in a while," he said.
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