On-The-Job Hazards and How to Avoid Them

Deadlines may be killer – but your office shouldn’t make you sick. Here are a few on-the-job hazards, and how to avoid them. We got these from the experts at Condé Nast Publications.

  • There’s the torture chair. Researchers in New Zealand studied Deep Vein Thrombosis, a painful and sometimes life-threatening blood clot in the leg. They discovered that a third of people suffering from DVT regularly spent at least three hours a day sitting at work. The fix: Take a stretch break every 30 to 60 minutes, and if you have trouble remembering, set an hourly alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar.
  • Your desk is a total germ farm. A woman’s desk often has two-and-a-half times more bacteria and viruses than a man’s. Why? Microbiologist Charles Gerba, known as “Dr. Germ”, is the author of The Germ Freak’s Guide, and he says that women are more likely to eat at their desk and use hand cream, creating the perfect damp, gooey environment for growing bacteria. The fix: Once a week, use a sanitizing wipe to disinfect your desk, drawer handles, keyboard, mouse, stapler, and telephone.
  • The cushy carpet in your office could make you sick. Scientists at England’s University of Birmingham report that wall-to-wall rugs may increase your chance of developing asthma by 40%. Why? Carpets trap mold, dirt and particles like feces tracked in on people’s shoes. They’re also usually made with materials that emit hazardous compounds - like formaldehyde - which can further irritate and inflame your airways. The healthy fix: Open a window once a week. Or get an air purifier so you can breathe easier. 

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