Your Desk May Be Making You Sick

(CBS) Most desks are dirtier than bathrooms, with some 400 times more germs, experts say.

What's more, Arizona State University researchers have found, women's desks have nearly three-times more bugs than those of their male counterparts.

On The Early Show Monday, Prevention magazine Health Educator Cynthia Sass explained where germs hide in plain sight on desks, and how to make your desktop as germ-free as possible.

"We're talking about viruses, bacteria, mold and yeast," Sass told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez.

There are some 10 million bacteria under your hand when it's resting on your desk, experts estimate, and desktop bacteria can stay alive for up to three days.

How often should we clean our desks? Every day and at the end of every say, Sass advises.

The best cleaning option? Anti-bacterial wipes.

Why do women have more germs at their workspaces than men? "It's probably because they have more stuff that attracts germs or accumulates germs, such as knick-knacks, picture frames, hand lotion, etc.," Sass says.

"We recommend you don't put on hand lotion at work, because (its moisture attracts and) holds onto germs and can transfer them to other surfaces (as you touch them), including your desk."

The biggest trouble spot is one you might never suspect: your phone. We touch them so often, there are lots of places on them for germs to lodge. Phones, Sass says, are "a magnet" for germs.

With computers, the mouse and keyboard are the biggest culprits -- especially if you eat over your keyboard. If you have to eat at your desk, Sass suggests, bring a placemat and put your food on it. And take it home at the end of the day. Keyboards and mice that can be washed with disinfectants are also made, and they're not very expensive.

Other germ-producing behaviors at work include sneezing at your desk (Sass ays you should keep a box of tissues at your desk and sneeze it into one. If you sneeze into one of your hands, wash it!) and having too much clutter (when piles of things are around, they can accumulate a lot of germs -- things such as papers, picture frames, rolodexes, lamps, etc.).

For much more from Prevention on minimizing germs at the office and at home, click here.

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