"Eighty percent of disease is caught by direct or indirect contact-either interacting with a person who carries germs or touching a surface where those organisms live," says Philip M. Tierno, Ph.D., author of The Secret Life of Germs and director of clinical microbiology at New York University Medical Center
Mildew is a fungus that grows in moist environments and looks like white powder. It is responsible for minor to extreme health problems. This type of fungus has spores that are airborne before they land on furniture and surfaces. Breathing in the spores into nostrils causes sneezing and post nasal drip. Inhaling spores into the lungs produces coughing and wheezing. Therefore, an excess of spores in the body leads to upper respiratory infections. Those infections can become serious for those with allergies and lung diseases. Physical contact may lead to skin rashes, eyes, ear, and nose irritations. Mildew is easily transferred to your home. It grows on clothes and paper products and only needs a small amount of moisture to grow fast. It is dispersed throughout the air via fans, vents, and stepping on carpet. In order to clean it properly it requires protective clothing.
DUST MITES & DUST
42,000 dust mites live inside of an ounce of dust. The feces and particles of the mite's body is the cause of runny noses, itchy eyes, wheezing and sneezing. 100,000 can live on one square foot of carpet. Dust mites are not visible to the naked eye and are only visible under a microscope. They have a lifespan of three weeks and will reproduce 25-30 babies over that three week period. The spooky critters aren't the major issue, it's the common allergen they produce, feces. They can produce a range of 10-20 fecal droppings a day. Those droppings are considered the 2nd leading cause of allergens. The feces and particles of the mite's body are the cause of runny noses, itchy eyes, wheezing and sneezing. They are also contributors to asthma and asthma attacks which block or narrow airways of the respiratory system.
PET DANDER & SECRETIONS
Every 4 out of 10 people own pets which add up to 100 million pets! Of the people who suffer from allergies, 15%-30% have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. Those 15%-30% of people with pet allergies have super sensitive immune systems. They are sensitive to the proteins in pet dander (dandruff), saliva, and urine-allergens. Those allergens can live for several months outside the body. They have a sticky nature that attaches to walls, clothes, and other surfaces. The allergens can be found in homes without pets because they are transferable and are also airborne. If they come in contact with the eyes or nose they can cause swelling, itching, inflammation and stuffiness. If inhaled into the lungs it results in coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Cat allergies are associated with chronic asthma.
Body secretions include fluids such as: mucus, saliva, blood, sweat, oils from skin, tears, and urine. Germs and bacteria found in sweat can cause colds, virus, fungal infections, stomach illnesses, and staph infections. Bacteria can grow rapidly; within 20 minutes bacteria and yeast develop when sweat sits on your skin. Coworkers or students who frequent the gym, or workout at lunch, may carry germs and bacteria from sweat. The increase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) a deadly staph infection can be transported from the gym or workout clothes. 30% of people are carriers of MRSA. MRSA can be found on skin or in the nose or on surfaces. People touch their face 18 times per hour which allows germs to reach your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is how illnesses enter the body. Without proper hand washing coworkers can spread germs found in feces to office surfaces and furniture. Droplets from sneezing, runny noses, and coughing spread infections throughout the office and school environment. Blood from cuts and wounds on skin are additional opportunities for infections to enter the body.
All of the allergens can be brought to work by your co-worker or students. You touch, share, and interact with each other in the office space and on the office furniture. Are you certain these allergens aren't going home with you?