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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Other infections

Question: Transmit cold, virus, flu at work

 liz52551 - Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:17 pm

Can a cold, virus or the flu be transmitted at work by touching and working with papers prepared by a co-worker who has a cold, virus (stomach, etc.) or the flu? I work with someone who sprays lysol on papers to the point it gags me and I am wondering if her concern is valid. Thank you LK
 Debbie Miller, RN - Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:42 pm

User avatar Hello,
Probably the most likely route of transmission is direct airborne from sneezing, coughing, etc and touching items such as door knobs used frequently. Papers would be low risk unless they were newly sneezed upon, touched, and then the hands were put in the mouth. So, using good, normal hygiene including hand washing or using hand sanitizers would be preferable to annoying the entire office personnel with smelly sprays. This person would do just as well to keep a bottle of antibacterial gel at her desk and use to her heart's desire. It sounds more like a bit of a compulsion and it is definitely bad office etiquette to be so thoughtless of others.

Of course it is also bad etiquette to bring viruses to work so especially in the first few days of a cold, ill personnel should stay home.

Good luck in dealing with this issue. It is appropriate to let her know that her practice bothers you, probably not unlike her worry of germs worries her (though much more typical a concern). I would also be bothered by the spray and I'm sure if there are others in the office environment you are not alone in this complaint.

Best wishes.
 liz52551 - Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:21 pm

Debbie -- Thanks for the reply. I will buy her a bottle of hand sanitizer and let her know that it is low risk that she would get sick after receiving the paperwork unless the manager had sneezed directly on the paper then she touched that spot and put her hand in her mouth. Since this is paperwork that comes to us from -- Liz
 Debbie Miller, RN - Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:23 pm

User avatar You're welcome, good luck.

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