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Why I.T pro's get sick

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Why I.T pro's get sick

william.bondy
It really doesn't matter what Level of I.T you?re in, but after working with any person's keyboard and mice you should wash your hands immediately. I'm no doctor but I read a report the other day that the common keyboard and or mouse has more gems on it than any toilet in a bar on Friday night. Just think, buddy users has had his mouse and keyboard for say 3 years, during that time he has had 20 colds a half dozen flu?s and who knows how many times he or she forgot to wash their hands after you know what. And they say about 65% of people pick their nose regularly hmmmmmm that could add up to something nasty.

I am starting to think that maybe when contracting cleaners for all building Facility, cleaning the Mouse and keyboard should be a standard, we might as well include LAN phones.

I am willing to bet that that next super bug that kills most of the human race is brewing up on someone's mouse as we speak.

There has been some discussion over the years about this, I'm wondering what people have done to prevent the transfer of gems, I?m no gemaphob but I was getting sick on a regular basis so now I wash my hands about 25 times a day; now I have to deal with dry hands but I haven?t been sick in 8 months.

I?m thinking as a industries we need to put measurements\standards in place to prevent the spread of the next super bug (well I might be exaggerating about the super bug).

I was thinking we should come up with a standard company memo. Then governments funded commercials. Well let?s start with a memo first!

Post some of your idea?s and I will compile some of your work. Once complete I will repost for everyone to look at to modify then I will let you know how many people come to my office to get a Clean wipes for their keyboards and mice.
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    CharlieSpencer

    I keep one of those plastic tubs of baby wipes on my desk and pull one out after every service call.

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    cmiller5400

    germ-X hand sanitizer sits by my station at all times and is used regularly through out the day. Besides, if things get rough, I can always take a swig of it B-) (just kidding. There was an article about kids drinking the stuff, it is something like 62% ethyl alcohol. Although it must taste really bad...)

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    AV .

    I used to get sick all the time until I started washing my hands after every visit. If I can't do that, I use some kind of hand purifier.

    I never was a germaphobe until I starting looking around people's work areas. Yuk! Dirty tissues, food, gym shoes under their desks with dirty socks (for the lunchtime walkers in the office). Double yuk!

    It isn't only the mouse and keyboard. What about the power buttons on the CPU and monitor. I use a pen or pencil top to touch them.

    Now that you mention it, how about those touch screens that are on Xerox copiers and the like. You can't wipe those off. Triple yuk!

    I look at it as a hazard of our profession. Meantime, I have the dryest, most chapped hands and haven't found a hand cream that really helps. Does anyone have any ideas on that?

    AV

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    Shellbot

    now its girly stuff..but go and buy some "Clarins" intense hand moisteriser.

    smells a bit weird..but i only use it at night, but its works wonders.

    not cheap though, but lasts for a good while..

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    AV .

    I'm one of the girls. I never heard of Clarins, but I'll look for it.

    AV

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    dwain.erhart

    My sons make a hand cream with their Beeswax - they are 4H Beekeepers. So, I use it (if only to support the guys!) and I also use their lip balm.

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    cmiller5400

    Lubriderm Advanced Therapy for Extra Dry Skin. It works great for me.

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    Tig2

    Also Aveeno and Curel. I keep a bottle next to the bleach wipes and the hand sanitiser.

    I don't do end user contact any more but I HAVE seen other people's workspaces. I clean the printer regularly and only print in the morning if I can. Some of these people... YEESH!

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    AV .

    It seems to work pretty good so far, but I think I'm over washing with whatever foamy soap concoction they have at work.

    I haven't been sick all winter, but my hands now look like they have a chemical burn. Someone should invent antibacterial gloves for people like us.

    AV

    Edited for sloppy typing

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    Tig2

    While I was a nurse, I would rub Vasoline into my hands before my shift and pull on a pair of white cotton gloves. I am allergic to the powder they use in rubber/nylagen gloves so double gloving was a must.

    I never took off the cotton gloves- they were usually hideous at the end of a day. But I never did anything without a pair of disposables- you had to glove to touch a patient.

    Between the disposables and the cotton gloves along with the Vasoline, I never worried about my hands. I never had to.

    I always had two or three pair of cottons with me for every shift.

    I have also discovered that I am allergic to many of the soaps that are institutionally sourced. I buy a pocket sized bottle of the liquid of my choice and a giant size of same. The little bottle is with me so that I can use my own soap in the Ladies.

    Never open the door with your hands...

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    RobPatten

    Equally don't use your teeth to open the door. :)

    A favourite trick of mine is to use my little finger to touch the smallest portion of the door handle possible, normally right at the top or bottom of the handle where most hands don't venture. Probably has no real benefit at all but makes me feel a bit better!

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    AV .

    I'll bring my own soap. I don't think I can do the white gloves though because people might think I'm a little crazy. :^0

    AV

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    w2ktechman

    cant open the doors with my hands or teeth? What am I supposed to do to get out?

    ok, ok, seriously though, I use a paper towel to open the doors here, there is a garbage can right outside for people like me.
    And, when not here, there is usually a garbage can close by.

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    WhomEver123

    ... and what do you use to flush with LOL? Or maybe you have those auto-flush toilets at work....

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    ballistabob

    I use a product called Corn Huskers. My local Wal-mart carries it. It really isnt the most pleasant moisturizer as far as smell goes but it does a fantastic job. I was my hands so much that during the winter months my fingers will crack and bleed at the joints from drying out. This stuff prevents that.

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    svilla8874

    This is the best stuff for really dry hands. I've been hand washing after every desk side visit for years and have found this hand cream to be the best, lasting through a couple of hand washings. It comes in unscented and a non-girly scented version as well. I recommend it to anyone who has to wash their hands frequently.

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    Pebblszzz

    I live in dry Colorado, and my hands were in shock for the first 2 years - until I discovered that moisturizers containing mineral oil are more harmful than good (they block moisture from getting in OR out). Found "Nutraderm" at the hospital pharmacy - and it's a true miracle worker. I use it after every hand wash. No girly smell, either.

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    jatwell

    Same here. My wife noticed my dry hands and suggested I use Neutrogena Hand Cream. It's oil based and only requires a little so it lasts a long time. I keep it in my laptop bag so I always have it with me.

    I do not typically get sick, partly due to hand washing, but I think also in part to my wife being an elementary school teacher so my immune system has a virus definition that would rival any malware software.

    To your health!

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    Johnson.Charles.C

    You are so right. As an EMT and IT admin, safety precautions are in the forefront of my mind.
    I mean, how many times has a defective mouse simply been dirty? Or a stuck keyboard been clogged with something?
    One of the first thing I did was Post an Infectious diseases Chart next the the Federal ones in the breakroom (you know, the ones with all the nasty pics on them). Then I used budgeted funds for office supplies to purchase Hand Sanitizer, Lysol Wipes, and Lysol spray for each work area. Even though these may be high-turnover items, I pitch them to upper mgt as "sick-day deterrents".
    The hardest thing to overcome is getting users to clean themselves. This is where the poster comes into play, it causes conversation. And one of those key topics? Transmission. And how is it prevented? Wash your hands.
    The Admin's Lament: Educate your users, or suffer the consequences...

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    Hey

    william.bondy

    Can you post some links to those poster please. that is a great Idea!!

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    WhomEver123

    Currently I'm in a cubicle and me and the guy on the other side of the cubicle wall have the same cold right now. We don't share phones, mice, keyboards anything. Just the air!!! I keep a fan turned on at all times to help circulate the air better, as it seems to be trapped sometimes.

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    fox1969

    I've looked at a few studies recently regarding rhinovirus and how it spreads. Rhinovirus is is supposed to be responsible for ~50% of all colds, but the airborne route for getting an infection from it is a really low risk - one study I read could not isolate the virus at all from coughs and sneezes.

    Not sure how true this is for other viruses responsible for colds/flu though, but it can be somewhat reassuring for those concerned with contracting a cold via the air they're breathing.

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    onbliss

    ...in a world that is as clean and healthy as an Intensive Care unit.

    Washing hands before/after eating and using restroom are good enough for me.

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    JohnnySacks

    100 years ago we were pouring our excrement into the same rivers and estuaries which were supplying our food. We've come a long way to the point where we can wash our hands anytime we want, good enough for me.

    The kind of products being marketed to us make me think we're all being brainwashed by marketers to be neurotic germophobes who will buy anything under the premise that it kills germs.

    I tend to view the human immune system as something which, in order to work well, needs exercise. Work provides flu shots, I'm a health adult and don't expect much more than a minor inconvenience from the sniffles and a fever now and then. If I was 70 years old or had a health condition, that would be different.

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    cmate

    A recent survey in Australia came up with the not so surprising conclusions that kids in households where parents constantly used all manner of detergents and disinfectants were more prone to illnesses than kids from households which were clean but not sanitised. If you live in a cocoon and wash your hands 25 times a day because you think you are going to catch some dreaded bug, then you need to visit your medico or maybe even your phsyc... you have a problem. In the past 23 years I have worked with all manner of keyboards and mice and, dare I say it, even cleaned public toilets and have never had a day off sick ... other than an odd day, usually from self inflicted over indulgence. I dread to think how you would be behaving if you were working at the local tip or similar venue. Keep it up, soon you won't even have any resistance. Do you also wash your hands after each time you open a door in a public building, open a cab door, and the like? Remember not to put your lips to that next beer you suck from a bottle or a can. Who knows where its been. Your comments are spot-on JohnnySacks.

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    WhomEver123

    There was an interesting program on CBC the other day, talking about research that scientists are finding the benefits of stuff found in dirt. It was an amazing program, and they are finding that a lot of "stuff" found in soil or dirt, have healing qualities, including benefitting chemotherapy patients and depression.

    I am currently taking probiotics which consists of 3 different types of bacteria found in soil, that are known to kill fungus. This is making a huge diffence on my IBS. It is the only thing that has been helpful for my IBS. Hence, the power of dirt! (not to say anyone should go out and eat any).

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    Forum Surfer

    That's what my Dad told me when I got hurt and I forward that same message to my son. That's a cure all for cuts when sliding home, bruises from stray pitches and road rash from bicycle crashes. There will be time for anti-bacterial crap and proper wound treatment when the game is over so man up, kid! Thanks for backing that up with facts!

    :)

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    fox1969

    The survey seems to suppose that the lack of exposure to harmful bacteria/viruses is responsible for weaker immunity, but perhaps the exposure to the chemicals themselves is having this same effect?

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    ccrobinson

    If only everybody washed their hands after using the restroom. This is a pet peeve of mine. Walking out of the restroom without washing one's hands shows either #1, ignorance, or #2, plain stupidity.

    I work in a building that I'm estimating has 500 people in it, at least. I have no idea how many times I've seen guys leave the restroom without washing their hands. The simplest thing I started doing was grabbing a clean paper towel and using that to open the door out of the restroom.

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    MexGolem

    I never going to see my mouse in the same way!

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    Triathlete1981

    i keep bacterial wipes at my desk. i used to carry them around with me, but people started getting offended. so, i keep a whole bunch at my desk.

    another reason we get sick is because we don't want to be bothered 24/7 by network users. and getting sick is a convenient way to get a day off. of course that's not actually getting sick, but hey, your boss will never know.

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    Tig2

    I have never "played sick" to get time off. No one I know has ever done that.

    Some of us have integrity.

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    keith2237

    I have had positions where this was the only option for a day off. Being on-call 24/7 pulls you down and even your "days off" are filled with calls. The only way to get any rest was to call in sick, turn off the cell and pager, and rejuvenate. Some companies don't care that only one person is on-call as long as it keeps their costs down. Some times you have to do what is necessary for your own health and sanity. That is also the reason I found a new position.

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    Triathlete1981

    not belittling you lady, who said you have integrity, but so do i.

    i manage a hundred users and am the only it person here. my schooling and training comes in network management, but since i am the only it person, i inherited software traininig, fixing printers, the voip system, random things such as web management. while i am able to contract out certain things, no one physically has the time to do all the stuff i do. but i do it anyway.

    i take maybe one lunch for half hour a week (if i'm lucky) and usually eat a sandwich in someone else's office while i'm fixing their computer.

    when people like you, who most likely work on a team of several it people, need off, there's someone to cover them. in my situation there isn't. calling out sick to get a day off isn't wrong. what the ____ is wrong with you anyway that you think it is?

    i got an idea for you. get laid.

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    cupcake

    Sometimes you just have to have a break and if you are
    getting "sick days" as part of your compensation, why
    shouldn't you use them...

    I wouldn't go so far as to say someone who calls in "sick" has
    no integrity...

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    Forum Surfer

    If someone is working 6 days a week and 60-70 hours a week and just needs some personal time...i don't think calling in sick shows a lack of integrity on their part. I don't blame them for that. If being "sick" is the only way they can score a day off because they work for a demanding company, so be it.

    Luckily I work for a company that allows me to take time off without good reason. Personal time is just that, personal and nunyabizness as far as the company goes on the time request form. If it weren't for that, yeah I'd call in "sick" here and there if nothing else other than to go to a school event for my son or have a "stay in bed all day-day" with my girlfriend.

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    rwierenga

    If the body is never exposed to viruses and germs it can not build up a resistance to germs. using anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners and worrying about touching your mouse is all stuff that prevents your exposure. It has been shown that children who are raised around barns and manure are healthier than those raised in Sterile environments. Exposure is prevention.

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    frank.schafer

    I'll go even further. It's education and the society around us what's making us ill.
    Remembering my childhood the commercials of soaps and cleaning means said: "This wont make clean - it will make cleaner!!!". Today a claening mean isn't good enough if it will make cleaner. Today it has to have antiseptic effects.
    I had a girl friend some time ago. Her mother was a nurse and she was brung up this way. She cleaned her flat and afterwards she desinfected it with means she got from the hospital ... and she was ill only once I was with her ... all the time.
    Maybe that are the civilisation ills - mankind is more and more clean and desinfected and more and more ill.
    This keyboard-and-mouse thing; I don't believe that a normal disposed person will get ill from this. Maybe a company producing cleaning means prepares a commercial campaign for such cleaning means

    My 0.02$

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    iceblast21

    It's no different than saying that exposure to ebola will make us stronger to it. And you know what? You're right - I'm sure after the million/billion deaths, someone would develop a natural antibody we could harvest! Then we expose ourselves to more Ebola and we're safe, right?

    There's a reason we've been using BLEACH and UV radiation to disinfect dangerous viral research facilities - it's been working for decades. It's necessary. I'd worry more about a strain that's immune to bleach than a bacteria that isn't affected by Soap.

    The fact of the matter is that a lot of viruses and bacterial infections are spread carelessly by people who don't clean their hands more carefully (or at all).

    Course, I've heard an argument that soap isn't supposed to kill bacteria, but help it wash away. If true, then I suppose the anti-bacterial element is unnecessary. But then, I haven't read anything about that quite yet, so I can't say I believe it.

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    NOW LEFT TR

    It has been shown that children who are raised around barns and manure are healthier than those raised in Sterile environments

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    iceblast21

    Barns are more remote than "sterile environments" which usually consist of the more populated City environments. Human disease typically comes from OTHER humans, not random places of their environment. Of course, you can still get sick without receiving the infection from someone, but simply stating that dirty barns are healthier is incredibly misleading.

    What were the specifics of that study? Was it a controlled experiment or more like an account of various cases compiled together? It makes a difference.

    Of course, you state this evidence simply to prove your point, not to verify its authenticity. Therefore, it wouldn't matter what I said. Except, you can create evidence to prove whatever you want. The only way to definitively decide what's healthier is through a more rigorous, detailed experiment. And even then...??

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    iceblast21

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,170188,00.html

    Why run around arguing without the facts? Read the current research and you'll see anti-bacterial products are not harmful to us in any way, nor will they lead to the apocalypse. That myth is yet another ratings-grabbing headline concocted by a news media interested in grabbing your brief attention.

    OH NO!!! THE EVIL SUPERBUG THAT IS RESISTANT TO ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP!!! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! OH NO!!! Tonight at 11.

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    Dr_Zinj

    First, viruses don't last forever. Flu viruses only last for 24-48 hrs hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic, and die much faster on cloth, paper, and tissues. Under conditions of low humidity and room temperature, adenovirus, poliovirus, and herpes simplex virus survived for at least 8 weeks. But nowhere near 3 years.

    Secondly, mice and keyboards a places of transmission, not places where the viruses reproduce. They need to be inside bodies for that.

    Thirdly, the next superbug is not brewing on anyone's mouse. Viruses cannot recombine without reproduction. And again, that has to happen inside a body.

    Fourth point. Everyone needs a certain level of exposure to viruses and bacteria to keep their immune systems operating. In fact, there is a certain level of exposure that makes the immune system work BETTER than the complete absence of pathogens.

    There are three amazingly simple things you can do to lower your bacterial/viral exposure load.

    1. Wash your hands frequently. All the times your mother told you to (or should have told you to). Before eating, after going to the bathroom, after playing with the dog, or running around on your hands and knees, etc. etc. etc. And do a better job than a splash and a promise. Use soap!

    2. Use antiseptic foams or gels in your work areas, frequently. Most have an added benefit of having moisturizers which keep your hands from cracking during the winter.

    3. Use a damp, not wet, antiseptic wipe on your mouse and keyboard. Make sure your system is turned off when you do it. And even an alcohol-based screen-cleaner pad would do the trick in a pinch.

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    william.bondy

    I really don't have the answer to this, but say buddy user has had the flu or a cold, don?t those the dead cells\body tissue on buddy's mouse or keyboard after say a month or two can never infect me??? I think we need a Doctor to answer some of these questions. Any I.T/ Doctors out there??

    I am still gathering data as this grows, the price of Baby wipes are a 10th of the cost and just as effective.

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    Tig2

    Take a moment every day and give your phone a wash with an antiseptic wipe. Do it daily.

    Be aware that most disease is spread by touch. It travels when you touch your mouth, nose, etc.

    Good post, Doc!

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    Freebird54

    I suspect that a great deal of the sickness one sees i this profession is a direct result of LACK of exposure to various things. No, not just pathogens - that matters more when you're a kid. I'm thinking of things like sunlight! :)

    A little common sense, the standard clean regime, and getting outdoors and doing things are better than any excessive avoidance strategies! (try helping out with a local kids sports progam - with your own, of course, if you have them) Take up biking, hiking, Xcountry skiing, golf (season and location dependent) It is FAR too easy to spend too much time attached to a keyboard inside - despite the advent of capable portable computers...

    This opinion is worth the full $.02.

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    marka

    I definately agree with the above post. I never get sick and believe I can relate that directly to my exposure to everything and anything. My friend, a handiwipe kind of guy, is signifigantly sicker than I am and more often.

    Get out, get exercise and don't hide and everything will be fine

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    CharlieSpencer

    I keep one of those plastic tubs of baby wipes on my desk and pull one out after every service call.

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    cmiller5400

    germ-X hand sanitizer sits by my station at all times and is used regularly through out the day. Besides, if things get rough, I can always take a swig of it B-) (just kidding. There was an article about kids drinking the stuff, it is something like 62% ethyl alcohol. Although it must taste really bad...)

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    AV .

    I used to get sick all the time until I started washing my hands after every visit. If I can't do that, I use some kind of hand purifier.

    I never was a germaphobe until I starting looking around people's work areas. Yuk! Dirty tissues, food, gym shoes under their desks with dirty socks (for the lunchtime walkers in the office). Double yuk!

    It isn't only the mouse and keyboard. What about the power buttons on the CPU and monitor. I use a pen or pencil top to touch them.

    Now that you mention it, how about those touch screens that are on Xerox copiers and the like. You can't wipe those off. Triple yuk!

    I look at it as a hazard of our profession. Meantime, I have the dryest, most chapped hands and haven't found a hand cream that really helps. Does anyone have any ideas on that?

    AV

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    Shellbot

    now its girly stuff..but go and buy some "Clarins" intense hand moisteriser.

    smells a bit weird..but i only use it at night, but its works wonders.

    not cheap though, but lasts for a good while..

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    AV .

    I'm one of the girls. I never heard of Clarins, but I'll look for it.

    AV

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    dwain.erhart

    My sons make a hand cream with their Beeswax - they are 4H Beekeepers. So, I use it (if only to support the guys!) and I also use their lip balm.

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    cmiller5400

    Lubriderm Advanced Therapy for Extra Dry Skin. It works great for me.

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    Tig2

    Also Aveeno and Curel. I keep a bottle next to the bleach wipes and the hand sanitiser.

    I don't do end user contact any more but I HAVE seen other people's workspaces. I clean the printer regularly and only print in the morning if I can. Some of these people... YEESH!

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    AV .

    It seems to work pretty good so far, but I think I'm over washing with whatever foamy soap concoction they have at work.

    I haven't been sick all winter, but my hands now look like they have a chemical burn. Someone should invent antibacterial gloves for people like us.

    AV

    Edited for sloppy typing

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    Tig2

    While I was a nurse, I would rub Vasoline into my hands before my shift and pull on a pair of white cotton gloves. I am allergic to the powder they use in rubber/nylagen gloves so double gloving was a must.

    I never took off the cotton gloves- they were usually hideous at the end of a day. But I never did anything without a pair of disposables- you had to glove to touch a patient.

    Between the disposables and the cotton gloves along with the Vasoline, I never worried about my hands. I never had to.

    I always had two or three pair of cottons with me for every shift.

    I have also discovered that I am allergic to many of the soaps that are institutionally sourced. I buy a pocket sized bottle of the liquid of my choice and a giant size of same. The little bottle is with me so that I can use my own soap in the Ladies.

    Never open the door with your hands...

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    RobPatten

    Equally don't use your teeth to open the door. :)

    A favourite trick of mine is to use my little finger to touch the smallest portion of the door handle possible, normally right at the top or bottom of the handle where most hands don't venture. Probably has no real benefit at all but makes me feel a bit better!

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    AV .

    I'll bring my own soap. I don't think I can do the white gloves though because people might think I'm a little crazy. :^0

    AV

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    w2ktechman

    cant open the doors with my hands or teeth? What am I supposed to do to get out?

    ok, ok, seriously though, I use a paper towel to open the doors here, there is a garbage can right outside for people like me.
    And, when not here, there is usually a garbage can close by.

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    WhomEver123

    ... and what do you use to flush with LOL? Or maybe you have those auto-flush toilets at work....

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    ballistabob

    I use a product called Corn Huskers. My local Wal-mart carries it. It really isnt the most pleasant moisturizer as far as smell goes but it does a fantastic job. I was my hands so much that during the winter months my fingers will crack and bleed at the joints from drying out. This stuff prevents that.

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    svilla8874

    This is the best stuff for really dry hands. I've been hand washing after every desk side visit for years and have found this hand cream to be the best, lasting through a couple of hand washings. It comes in unscented and a non-girly scented version as well. I recommend it to anyone who has to wash their hands frequently.

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    Pebblszzz

    I live in dry Colorado, and my hands were in shock for the first 2 years - until I discovered that moisturizers containing mineral oil are more harmful than good (they block moisture from getting in OR out). Found "Nutraderm" at the hospital pharmacy - and it's a true miracle worker. I use it after every hand wash. No girly smell, either.

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    jatwell

    Same here. My wife noticed my dry hands and suggested I use Neutrogena Hand Cream. It's oil based and only requires a little so it lasts a long time. I keep it in my laptop bag so I always have it with me.

    I do not typically get sick, partly due to hand washing, but I think also in part to my wife being an elementary school teacher so my immune system has a virus definition that would rival any malware software.

    To your health!

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    Johnson.Charles.C

    You are so right. As an EMT and IT admin, safety precautions are in the forefront of my mind.
    I mean, how many times has a defective mouse simply been dirty? Or a stuck keyboard been clogged with something?
    One of the first thing I did was Post an Infectious diseases Chart next the the Federal ones in the breakroom (you know, the ones with all the nasty pics on them). Then I used budgeted funds for office supplies to purchase Hand Sanitizer, Lysol Wipes, and Lysol spray for each work area. Even though these may be high-turnover items, I pitch them to upper mgt as "sick-day deterrents".
    The hardest thing to overcome is getting users to clean themselves. This is where the poster comes into play, it causes conversation. And one of those key topics? Transmission. And how is it prevented? Wash your hands.
    The Admin's Lament: Educate your users, or suffer the consequences...

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    Hey

    william.bondy

    Can you post some links to those poster please. that is a great Idea!!

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    WhomEver123

    Currently I'm in a cubicle and me and the guy on the other side of the cubicle wall have the same cold right now. We don't share phones, mice, keyboards anything. Just the air!!! I keep a fan turned on at all times to help circulate the air better, as it seems to be trapped sometimes.

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    fox1969

    I've looked at a few studies recently regarding rhinovirus and how it spreads. Rhinovirus is is supposed to be responsible for ~50% of all colds, but the airborne route for getting an infection from it is a really low risk - one study I read could not isolate the virus at all from coughs and sneezes.

    Not sure how true this is for other viruses responsible for colds/flu though, but it can be somewhat reassuring for those concerned with contracting a cold via the air they're breathing.

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    onbliss

    ...in a world that is as clean and healthy as an Intensive Care unit.

    Washing hands before/after eating and using restroom are good enough for me.

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    JohnnySacks

    100 years ago we were pouring our excrement into the same rivers and estuaries which were supplying our food. We've come a long way to the point where we can wash our hands anytime we want, good enough for me.

    The kind of products being marketed to us make me think we're all being brainwashed by marketers to be neurotic germophobes who will buy anything under the premise that it kills germs.

    I tend to view the human immune system as something which, in order to work well, needs exercise. Work provides flu shots, I'm a health adult and don't expect much more than a minor inconvenience from the sniffles and a fever now and then. If I was 70 years old or had a health condition, that would be different.

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    cmate

    A recent survey in Australia came up with the not so surprising conclusions that kids in households where parents constantly used all manner of detergents and disinfectants were more prone to illnesses than kids from households which were clean but not sanitised. If you live in a cocoon and wash your hands 25 times a day because you think you are going to catch some dreaded bug, then you need to visit your medico or maybe even your phsyc... you have a problem. In the past 23 years I have worked with all manner of keyboards and mice and, dare I say it, even cleaned public toilets and have never had a day off sick ... other than an odd day, usually from self inflicted over indulgence. I dread to think how you would be behaving if you were working at the local tip or similar venue. Keep it up, soon you won't even have any resistance. Do you also wash your hands after each time you open a door in a public building, open a cab door, and the like? Remember not to put your lips to that next beer you suck from a bottle or a can. Who knows where its been. Your comments are spot-on JohnnySacks.

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    WhomEver123

    There was an interesting program on CBC the other day, talking about research that scientists are finding the benefits of stuff found in dirt. It was an amazing program, and they are finding that a lot of "stuff" found in soil or dirt, have healing qualities, including benefitting chemotherapy patients and depression.

    I am currently taking probiotics which consists of 3 different types of bacteria found in soil, that are known to kill fungus. This is making a huge diffence on my IBS. It is the only thing that has been helpful for my IBS. Hence, the power of dirt! (not to say anyone should go out and eat any).

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    Forum Surfer

    That's what my Dad told me when I got hurt and I forward that same message to my son. That's a cure all for cuts when sliding home, bruises from stray pitches and road rash from bicycle crashes. There will be time for anti-bacterial crap and proper wound treatment when the game is over so man up, kid! Thanks for backing that up with facts!

    :)

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    fox1969

    The survey seems to suppose that the lack of exposure to harmful bacteria/viruses is responsible for weaker immunity, but perhaps the exposure to the chemicals themselves is having this same effect?

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    ccrobinson

    If only everybody washed their hands after using the restroom. This is a pet peeve of mine. Walking out of the restroom without washing one's hands shows either #1, ignorance, or #2, plain stupidity.

    I work in a building that I'm estimating has 500 people in it, at least. I have no idea how many times I've seen guys leave the restroom without washing their hands. The simplest thing I started doing was grabbing a clean paper towel and using that to open the door out of the restroom.

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    MexGolem

    I never going to see my mouse in the same way!

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    Triathlete1981

    i keep bacterial wipes at my desk. i used to carry them around with me, but people started getting offended. so, i keep a whole bunch at my desk.

    another reason we get sick is because we don't want to be bothered 24/7 by network users. and getting sick is a convenient way to get a day off. of course that's not actually getting sick, but hey, your boss will never know.

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    Tig2

    I have never "played sick" to get time off. No one I know has ever done that.

    Some of us have integrity.

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    keith2237

    I have had positions where this was the only option for a day off. Being on-call 24/7 pulls you down and even your "days off" are filled with calls. The only way to get any rest was to call in sick, turn off the cell and pager, and rejuvenate. Some companies don't care that only one person is on-call as long as it keeps their costs down. Some times you have to do what is necessary for your own health and sanity. That is also the reason I found a new position.

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    Triathlete1981

    not belittling you lady, who said you have integrity, but so do i.

    i manage a hundred users and am the only it person here. my schooling and training comes in network management, but since i am the only it person, i inherited software traininig, fixing printers, the voip system, random things such as web management. while i am able to contract out certain things, no one physically has the time to do all the stuff i do. but i do it anyway.

    i take maybe one lunch for half hour a week (if i'm lucky) and usually eat a sandwich in someone else's office while i'm fixing their computer.

    when people like you, who most likely work on a team of several it people, need off, there's someone to cover them. in my situation there isn't. calling out sick to get a day off isn't wrong. what the ____ is wrong with you anyway that you think it is?

    i got an idea for you. get laid.

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    cupcake

    Sometimes you just have to have a break and if you are
    getting "sick days" as part of your compensation, why
    shouldn't you use them...

    I wouldn't go so far as to say someone who calls in "sick" has
    no integrity...

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    Forum Surfer

    If someone is working 6 days a week and 60-70 hours a week and just needs some personal time...i don't think calling in sick shows a lack of integrity on their part. I don't blame them for that. If being "sick" is the only way they can score a day off because they work for a demanding company, so be it.

    Luckily I work for a company that allows me to take time off without good reason. Personal time is just that, personal and nunyabizness as far as the company goes on the time request form. If it weren't for that, yeah I'd call in "sick" here and there if nothing else other than to go to a school event for my son or have a "stay in bed all day-day" with my girlfriend.

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    rwierenga

    If the body is never exposed to viruses and germs it can not build up a resistance to germs. using anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners and worrying about touching your mouse is all stuff that prevents your exposure. It has been shown that children who are raised around barns and manure are healthier than those raised in Sterile environments. Exposure is prevention.

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    frank.schafer

    I'll go even further. It's education and the society around us what's making us ill.
    Remembering my childhood the commercials of soaps and cleaning means said: "This wont make clean - it will make cleaner!!!". Today a claening mean isn't good enough if it will make cleaner. Today it has to have antiseptic effects.
    I had a girl friend some time ago. Her mother was a nurse and she was brung up this way. She cleaned her flat and afterwards she desinfected it with means she got from the hospital ... and she was ill only once I was with her ... all the time.
    Maybe that are the civilisation ills - mankind is more and more clean and desinfected and more and more ill.
    This keyboard-and-mouse thing; I don't believe that a normal disposed person will get ill from this. Maybe a company producing cleaning means prepares a commercial campaign for such cleaning means

    My 0.02$

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    iceblast21

    It's no different than saying that exposure to ebola will make us stronger to it. And you know what? You're right - I'm sure after the million/billion deaths, someone would develop a natural antibody we could harvest! Then we expose ourselves to more Ebola and we're safe, right?

    There's a reason we've been using BLEACH and UV radiation to disinfect dangerous viral research facilities - it's been working for decades. It's necessary. I'd worry more about a strain that's immune to bleach than a bacteria that isn't affected by Soap.

    The fact of the matter is that a lot of viruses and bacterial infections are spread carelessly by people who don't clean their hands more carefully (or at all).

    Course, I've heard an argument that soap isn't supposed to kill bacteria, but help it wash away. If true, then I suppose the anti-bacterial element is unnecessary. But then, I haven't read anything about that quite yet, so I can't say I believe it.

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    NOW LEFT TR

    It has been shown that children who are raised around barns and manure are healthier than those raised in Sterile environments

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    iceblast21

    Barns are more remote than "sterile environments" which usually consist of the more populated City environments. Human disease typically comes from OTHER humans, not random places of their environment. Of course, you can still get sick without receiving the infection from someone, but simply stating that dirty barns are healthier is incredibly misleading.

    What were the specifics of that study? Was it a controlled experiment or more like an account of various cases compiled together? It makes a difference.

    Of course, you state this evidence simply to prove your point, not to verify its authenticity. Therefore, it wouldn't matter what I said. Except, you can create evidence to prove whatever you want. The only way to definitively decide what's healthier is through a more rigorous, detailed experiment. And even then...??

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    iceblast21

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,170188,00.html

    Why run around arguing without the facts? Read the current research and you'll see anti-bacterial products are not harmful to us in any way, nor will they lead to the apocalypse. That myth is yet another ratings-grabbing headline concocted by a news media interested in grabbing your brief attention.

    OH NO!!! THE EVIL SUPERBUG THAT IS RESISTANT TO ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP!!! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! OH NO!!! Tonight at 11.

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    Dr_Zinj

    First, viruses don't last forever. Flu viruses only last for 24-48 hrs hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic, and die much faster on cloth, paper, and tissues. Under conditions of low humidity and room temperature, adenovirus, poliovirus, and herpes simplex virus survived for at least 8 weeks. But nowhere near 3 years.

    Secondly, mice and keyboards a places of transmission, not places where the viruses reproduce. They need to be inside bodies for that.

    Thirdly, the next superbug is not brewing on anyone's mouse. Viruses cannot recombine without reproduction. And again, that has to happen inside a body.

    Fourth point. Everyone needs a certain level of exposure to viruses and bacteria to keep their immune systems operating. In fact, there is a certain level of exposure that makes the immune system work BETTER than the complete absence of pathogens.

    There are three amazingly simple things you can do to lower your bacterial/viral exposure load.

    1. Wash your hands frequently. All the times your mother told you to (or should have told you to). Before eating, after going to the bathroom, after playing with the dog, or running around on your hands and knees, etc. etc. etc. And do a better job than a splash and a promise. Use soap!

    2. Use antiseptic foams or gels in your work areas, frequently. Most have an added benefit of having moisturizers which keep your hands from cracking during the winter.

    3. Use a damp, not wet, antiseptic wipe on your mouse and keyboard. Make sure your system is turned off when you do it. And even an alcohol-based screen-cleaner pad would do the trick in a pinch.

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    william.bondy

    I really don't have the answer to this, but say buddy user has had the flu or a cold, don?t those the dead cells\body tissue on buddy's mouse or keyboard after say a month or two can never infect me??? I think we need a Doctor to answer some of these questions. Any I.T/ Doctors out there??

    I am still gathering data as this grows, the price of Baby wipes are a 10th of the cost and just as effective.

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    Tig2

    Take a moment every day and give your phone a wash with an antiseptic wipe. Do it daily.

    Be aware that most disease is spread by touch. It travels when you touch your mouth, nose, etc.

    Good post, Doc!

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    Freebird54

    I suspect that a great deal of the sickness one sees i this profession is a direct result of LACK of exposure to various things. No, not just pathogens - that matters more when you're a kid. I'm thinking of things like sunlight! :)

    A little common sense, the standard clean regime, and getting outdoors and doing things are better than any excessive avoidance strategies! (try helping out with a local kids sports progam - with your own, of course, if you have them) Take up biking, hiking, Xcountry skiing, golf (season and location dependent) It is FAR too easy to spend too much time attached to a keyboard inside - despite the advent of capable portable computers...

    This opinion is worth the full $.02.

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    marka

    I definately agree with the above post. I never get sick and believe I can relate that directly to my exposure to everything and anything. My friend, a handiwipe kind of guy, is signifigantly sicker than I am and more often.

    Get out, get exercise and don't hide and everything will be fine