by Bruce Myint | October 01, 2004
Next time you need to make a call, beware: Telephones are a virtual petri dish for germs. In fact, even the most innocuous office equipment could harbor a potential cold or flu, according to the Chicago-based National Association of Medical Communicators (
    In a study conducted by the University of Arizona, it was found that the average office phone is festering with more than 20,000 germs per square inch; a typical computer keyboard is home to about 3,000, and the average computer mouse has 1,500. To put it in perspective, most bathroom surfaces contain around 50 germs per square inch, according to researchers.
    To make matters worse, germs easily move from surface to surface, hitchhiking on peoples’ hands from telephones to copy machines to water coolers. The solution? Since 80 percent of infectious diseases are spread by hand-to-hand contact, make hand washing a habit, say experts. And if that’s not convenient, opt for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, such as Purell.