Did you know that 80% of all common illnesses such as colds or gastroenteritis are submitted by our immediate environment? More than 3,000 germs are there on every inch of your office. A kitchen sponge is a cradle to millions of swarming germs. Danger to your health or innocent horrors? The few statements that follow will allow you to separate fact from fiction. And help you to understand germs!

You should be more wary of the surface of your desk than your toilet bowl.

TRUE. In Lisa’s home, seat and toilet bowl are being meticulously cleaned in her routine housekeeping. But, it is a different case on her workstation at the office, where she spends more than seven hours a day, five days per week. According to Chuck Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, it is wrong to neglect the infectivity of our immediate work area. As part of his thesis, he has identified 511 germs per square inch on keyboards, a figure climbing up to 3865 on some handsets. In comparison, in the toilet, in comparison, there was a meager average of eight bacteria per square centimeter.

While such figures may have the effect of a bomb in our imagination, we must know that these microbes are not necessarily significant risk to health. Once Lisa understood this fact she could finally get rid of the cold that has been bothering her for weeks. After all, the one third work surfaces examined by Professor Gerba was the host of the “parainfluenza” virus who is responsible for many diseases including colds and flu.

Warning: antibacterial products containing alcohol creates a sense of false security. Nothing replaces a frequent and complete hand washing, based on water and soap.

The bin in the kitchen won the prize of the most contaminated object of our nest.

FALSE. For the purpose of digging up the house on which part or corner houses the most undesirable forms of life, simply assemble the optimal conditions for bacterial growth worthy of salmonella or E. coli. What is used for multiple purposes, which is constantly wet because of extended stays in the sink and that one “forgets” to change regularly? You win if you answered (or if you already ran and discarded) the sponge or mop the kitchen. Do not let this valuable domestic help turn into a microbial nest, by rinsing carefully and ensuring that it can dry between uses. Put the sponge in the dishwasher, or better yet one minute in the microwave will destroy a lot of germs. And after three weeks, replace it with a new congener.

What’s in the toilet… it stays.

TRUE AND FALSE. True, because a thorough hand washing will get rid of most germs and bacteria potentially infectious. False, because flushing water, you trigger an effect “aerosol” that projects the bacteria in the room… including your toothbrush, placed nearby. Disgusting? Certainly. Dangerous? No. We will however recommend to pay close attention to handbags, briefcases and backpacks that are deposited without much thought on the kitchen counter on return from work. It is very ones that had been deposited on the floor of the bathrooms during the busy day.