Why A Toilet Is a Better Desk Than Your Desk

from the just-to-be-safe-don't-eat-off-your-phone dept

There have been numerous studies about the surprising places that germs are found. Once again experts are warning that objects like doorknobs pale in comparison to mobile phones and keyboards when it comes to germ load, while a typical desk, they claim, is more germ infested than a toilet seat. The conclusion is that people who consider themselves careful about germs, by flipping up a public toilet seat with their foot for example, have their fears misplaced. But what all of these studies leave out is whether people who fail to abide by proper germ prevention techniques actually get sick more often. Do teenagers who chat on cell phones and then pass it off to a friend actually have a higher rate of the flu? Do people who go to cybercafes actually come down with colds more frequently? Perhaps, there's more to it than the simple equation of more germs equals more sickness. Still, just in case, you might want to pick up a sterilizing phone charger.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Sofa King Stoned, May 2nd, 2006 @ 12:08pm

    Keyboard vs. Toilet Seat

    Sure, my keyboard may be germier than a toilet seat, but the germs on the keyboard are from MY hands, not OTHER PEOPLE'S ASS.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2006 @ 12:16pm

    i could not have put it better myself, well done

     

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  3.  
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    Jeremiah, May 2nd, 2006 @ 12:22pm

    Bolster the immune system

    Sickness is not simply an end result - often the body will develop antibodies and other immunity-related compounds in reaction to exposure to "other people's asses." In the long run, I bet a case could be made that all that contact with other people's keyboards and mice (i speak of IT support) actually makes you more resilient to infection.

    IMHO.

     

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  4.  
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    Mikester, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Bolster the immune system

    Exactly. By trying to live in a bubble and "sterile" environment, we only weaken our immune systems and truly impair our ability to fend off the real threats.
    That is why I refuse to get the flu shot.

     

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  5.  
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    Shruti, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:10pm

    There's actually been a study done about that. A group of grad students' social networks were mapped, then they were infected with the common cold virus. Students with bigger networks were less likely to develop a cold because they had stronger immune systems

     

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  6.  
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    ChocoTuar, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Bolster the immune system

    You are one of the people who "ha[s] their fears misplaced."

    The flu shot injects a small amount of the virus into your bloodstream so that you build up an immunity. In no way does it make you any weaker.

     

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  7.  
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    ChocoTuar, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    How old were these kids? Or, more pertinently, how long have they had a "big" network? I'd bet money that in the beginning of the "network" they got sick more than would have at the time the test was taken. The beginning was probably more sickening than a "loner"'s could ever be.

     

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  8.  
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    Howard, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    Shades of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    So we need a new class of worker -- "telephone sanitizers".

    Seriously, one of the most effective, simple-minded, and inexpensive ways to avoid most communicable disease is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water several times a day.

     

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  9.  
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    Posterlogo, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re:

    "How old were these kids? Or, more pertinently, how long have they had a "big" network? I'd bet money that in the beginning of the "network" they got sick more than would have at the time the test was taken. The beginning was probably more sickening than a "loner"'s could ever be."



    Not true at all. So very very wrong. You don't have to get sick to build up immunity. The idea is to get EXPOSURE to mild amounts of many antigens when you are young. This is most dramatically illustrated in the case of parents who are too strict and sterile with their kids -- they inevitable develop asthma and allergies. Some of it is hereditary, but a great deal of it has to do with being allowed to play in the dirt a little. Pets too -- kids who are raised with atleast 1 pet have a 25-50% lower chance of getting asthma than those raised without pets.

     

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  10.  
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    Scottitude, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Keyboard vs. Toilet Seat

    ...unless you shook hands with someone who didn't wash their hands after wiping their ass; then your keyboard has other people's ass sweat and perhaps, fecal matter on it, just like a toilet seat.

     

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  11.  
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    Tyshaun, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Bolster the immune system

    Sickness is not simply an end result - often the body will develop antibodies and other immunity-related compounds in reaction to exposure to "other people's asses." In the long run, I bet a case could be made that all that contact with other people's keyboards and mice (i speak of IT support) actually makes you more resilient to infection.

    IMHO.


    Kind of sort of. The primary problem with your statement is that viruses mutate very quickly and bacteria mutate rapidly as well.

    Working as a paramedic for 8 years I can tell you that it's more of a function of the individual. Some people have very fast acting immune systems and hardly ever get sick, some are cursed. I had a partner who was sick all the time and ended up quitting because she just couldn't be around people with communicable diseases. Me, I caught one case of the flu in my 8 years as a medic and that's only because my patient insisted on shaking my hands after I had taken my gloves off.

     

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  12.  
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    Whateva, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Bolster the immune system

    "Exactly. By trying to live in a bubble and "sterile" environment, we only weaken our immune systems and truly impair our ability to fend off the real threats.
    That is why I refuse to get the flu shot."



    Dear Mikester -- congratulations. You are so much smarter than the rest of us. You seem to think the flu shot helps people live in a "bubble and sterile environment." You couldn't be more wrong. The flu shot IS the germ. You are taking a small dose of (inactivated) germs to help build your immunity when that big dose arrives. But please, get your resistance the hard way and save the flu shot for the rest of us. Thanks!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    dorpus, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not true at all. So very very wrong. You don't have to get sick to build up immunity. The idea is to get EXPOSURE to mild amounts of many antigens when you are young. This is most dramatically illustrated in the case of parents who are too strict and sterile with their kids -- they inevitable develop asthma and allergies.

    The proper term here would be "inevitably", though it would still be wrong. What you are referring to is the hygiene hypothesis, which claims that kids growing up in antiseptic environment are at INCREASED RISK of developing asthma and allergies. However, there are just as many studies which show that kids exposed to certain kinds of bacteria or viruses are at increased risk of asthma/allergy themselves. Variants of the theory talk about the lack of diversity in gut flora. There is no consensus among scientists on how the hygiene hypothesis works, if it works at all.



    Some of it is hereditary, but a great deal of it has to do with being allowed to play in the dirt a little.


    However, there are many studies which show that certain kinds of mycobacteria (microbes that live in the soil) INCREASE the risk of allergies/asthma.


    Pets too -- kids who are raised with atleast 1 pet have a 25-50% lower chance of getting asthma than those raised without pets.


    Here also, the results are contradictory. About half the scientific papers out there say that pets INCREASE allergies, while another half say it doesn't. Most allergists recommend that allergy patients get rid of their pets.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    SPR, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:36pm

    Toilet Experts

    I think the experts who came up with this have too much time on their hands, among other things!!

     

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  15.  
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    BigMeanDog, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:38pm

    Keyboard vs. Toilet Seat

    Exactly Sofa King Stoned!!! I'd rather touch keyboards than stale remnants of urination and defecation. Nasty!!!! And I do use my foot to prop up the toilet seat. And if I can help it at all...I go home to my own throne.

     

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  16.  
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    Mikester, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Bolster the immune system

    Thanks - gee, I didn't realize I was actually getting INJECTED with the flu!
    Listen brainiacs, the flu shot is a farce anyway. It is only a sample of the top flus going around the previous year. You better hope those same strains are still going around when you get the shot, other wise it's all for nothing.
    By letting your own immune system fight it off naturally, you're doing your body a service by building it up the proper way.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    BigMeanDog, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:44pm

    Keyboard vs. Toilet Seat

    But I do pick my ass while typing...but it's my ass and it's wonderful

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    ^ idiot, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:49pm

    admit it

    just admit you're wrong and dont try to cover it up or you'll look like a bigger idiot than you already are

     

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  19.  
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    Smuckfumaster, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Shades of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    Sounds better than an 'ass sanitizer'.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Nathan, May 2nd, 2006 @ 1:56pm

    Kick it up

    Seriously, I just use my foot to lift up the toilet seat because it's more often than not covered with other guy's piss and splash-back because they were to damn lazy to lift it up. A lifetime in the public school system has taught me that there's not much that piss won't get onto, be it on purpose or accidentally.

     

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  21.  
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    BigMeanDog, May 2nd, 2006 @ 2:04pm

    Keyboard vs. Toilet Seat

    And if you go around life avoiding "germs" , be aware, insects and animals crap on everything as well. For example, I have a large male carpenter bee that guards my back door. As you watch him fly around, he craps all over the place. I have chosen not to eradicate him since he runs off everything else that craps including birds. One crapper is better than a group of em. So remember that the next time you leave your grill brush outside on the table.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    stone, May 2nd, 2006 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Shades of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    wash your hands? really? nah!

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Evey, May 2nd, 2006 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    I had two dogs, definitely got dirty, and still have asthma and allergies. Did I just get the shaft?

    Washing your hands and keeping them off your face helps immensely.

     

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  24.  
    icon
    bmac (profile), May 2nd, 2006 @ 2:39pm

    At least I feel better...

    ...when I see all of the people who never wash their hands at all. You can say that the handle on the bathroom door is cleaner than my keyboard, but after I've watched yet another person (usually old and rich) handle their wang or wipe their arse crack and walk directly out of the restroom without washing, it just feels better to open the door with a clean napkin. And, unless it's an emergency, I don't ever do number 2 at work.

    Lastly on the subject of flu shots: I got one for the first time ever at the start of last winter, and I got the worst flu I've had in years, which turned into pneumonia. I'll never get it again.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2006 @ 3:32pm

    I have allergies but it seems after a while of being exposed to something my body just gets used to it...
    Like whenever I would visit my friends house her rabbit would always make me sneeze and my eyes water and everything else, now that it lives here it stopped bothering me after a couple weeks.

    I've never gotten a flu shot and the only time I can ever remember having the flu was about 7 years ago (I was 11 then, and I was super sick but haven't had it since).

    And it doesn't really matter HOW MANY germs are on something, it matters how harmful they are to a person. For instance your significant others mouth probably contains a shitload of bacteria, but do you make them sanitize their mouth everytime before you kiss them?

     

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  26.  
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    IraM, May 2nd, 2006 @ 3:49pm

    This is a falacy

    A toilet seat has YOUR germs on it. My desk has MY germs on it. I already have MY germs. Please keep yours to yourself! Regards, Ira

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Derickonfire, May 2nd, 2006 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Bolster the immune system

    But isn't a flu shot actually just dosing you with the actual flu, which is basically exposing you to the flu, but in a controlled way?

     

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  28.  
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    eskayp, May 2nd, 2006 @ 10:27pm

    Immune, or not.

    And if your job is at a wastewater treatment plant?
    After the initial round of exposure, you seldom get sick from flu, colds, or any of the other 'nuisance' diseases that plague mankind.
    Every shift is a new set of free innoculations against whatever
    is making it's rounds in society.
    Still have to watch out for (and get medically innoculated against)
    the traditional 'killer' diseases: typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus, etc.
    And be real careful about needle sticks or other breaches of your skin.
    One question:
    Does this continual 'priming' of the immune system have a longterm cost?
    Do decades of daily exposure eventually lead to immune system failure?
    Food for thought -- just don't eat it near your keyboard.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2006 @ 5:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Bolster the immune system

    "But please, get your resistance the hard way and save the flu shot for the rest of us."

    That's exactly what I do, but not because I don't "believe" in the flu shot, but because there is typically a shortage of shots and my 36-year-old body is much better able to fight off minor infections than would be a 76-year-old's who might NEED my dose. Then again, in a world where everyone has the shot, my added protection from the shot is pretty small. Hmm...is this an example of *negative* network externalities? Cool.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    eb, May 3rd, 2006 @ 7:52am

    Flu Shots

    If you get sick after your flu shot, you probably got a vaccine made with "live" virus. Most vaccines these days are made with "dead" virus and do not make people sick. However, I believe the "live" shots are cheaper, which could be why some institutions give them to employees, etc.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2007 @ 11:29am

    well ur ass is cleaner than your hands cuz the outside of ur ass which touches the bowl touches nothing but underwear

    and unless u shit in ur pants it cleaner than ur hands

     

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  32.  
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    mandy, Jan 21st, 2007 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Keyboard vs. Toilet Seat

    where have your hands been try to think before you say!!

     

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  33.  
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    unknown, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 8:26pm

    how

    Exactly how are cell phones, keyboards, ect. more sanitary then a toilet?

     

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  34.  
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    Randy, Jun 12th, 2008 @ 10:57pm

    Re: This is a falacy

    I don't think so. There are a lot of articles out there in particular do a google search for What's Crawling Under Your Fingers While You Type. What's Crawling Under Your Fingers While You Type Just my two cents..

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Randy, Jun 12th, 2008 @ 10:57pm

    Re: This is a falacy

    I don't think so. There are a lot of articles out there in particular do a google search for What's Crawling Under Your Fingers While You Type. What's Crawling Under Your Fingers While You Type Just my two cents..

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    I love germs, they make our immune system stronger!!!!!!!!

     

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  37.  
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    injection molding, May 5th, 2009 @ 7:57am

    we intend to take full advantage of them!

    New Zealand It could take a lifetime to experience everything there is to see and do in naturally stunning New Zealand, but we're going to pack as much as we can into just four weeks. The Lost Girls will be renting a vehicle for the first time on the trip and using to it mow down the miles between major site and destinations. We can't wait to climb glaciers, hike volcanoes, kayak over aquamarine seas, dive into steaming natural mud baths and of course--throw ourselves off the famous Nevis bungee jump. As our resident Lord of the Rings expert (read: geek), Jen will be steering us towards all those cinematic locations made famous by Peter Jackson and his lovable Hobbits. As a fellowship nearing the end of our own epic journey, we'll be trying to make the most of every plastic injection molding remaining day. Bali Together at long last, we're leaving the mainland to go surfing and sunning in gorgeous Bali. After two weeks spent getting up at noon, drinking pina coladas and otherwise acting like total bums in Kuta Beach, we'll head inland to check out the scaffolding artwork and accessories in the bohemian town of Ubud.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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