Down and Dirty: Ten Most Germy Jobs

"In all those other jobs, I think there is more of an understanding that this is a germy job, so, hopefully, people take good precautions to keep themselves safe," said Elizabeth Scott, co-director and founder of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community Settings at Simmons College in Boston.

Judith Torian, a third-grade teacher in Needham, Mass., who once contracted bronchitis from a student, tries to avoid infections by keeping her students vigilant, as well.

In addition to her own healthy food regimen, she encourages her children to eat well every day, and teaches them cough-and-sneeze etiquette, such as coughing into their elbow to avoid spreading germs.

"In general, they're all trying not to get sick," Torian said. "We all discuss it as a group. We're all aware and really try to compliment people [for practicing good hygiene]."

Of course, being around children also presents germ concerns for day care workers.

Gerba said he often tells people, "If you don't want to stay healthy, become a day care center worker."

Because of the children, whose hygiene habits often lead to their carrying germs, microbes are abundant in day care centers, studies find.

"Certainly, [day care center workers] get a high level of exposure," said Gerba. "During the flu season ... in a day care center, about half of the objects have a flu virus on it."

The key to avoiding those germ problems, as pediatrician and day care center owner Dr. Laura Jana explained to ABC News in September, is making sure that the cleaning is worked into the daily routines.

Bank Employee/Cashier

Teachers can get sick from the germy papers their students hand in to them. For bank tellers and cashiers, much of their jobs involve handling dirty pieces of currency from all types of customers.

Almost everyone is aware of how dirty money can be, and the things you can find on its surface range from microbes to traces of illegal narcotics.



The work habits of bankers can also be a problem, as they spend a great deal of time at their desks.

Papers carrying germs come in and out, and while the papers leave the desk's surface, the germs don't.

"We found that nobody really cleans or disinfects a desk until they start sticking to it," said Gerba.

In his 2006 survey of germs in the workplace, bankers and accountants tended to be right behind teachers when it came to workplace germs, and the desks could be even dirtier.

Of course, workers who are at their desks a lot tend to eat there as well, which can increase bacteria -- and in this regard, women seem to be a little more culpable than men for the amount of food they have there.

"If there's ever a famine, I'm going to go right to a woman's desk," said Gerba.

Tech Support/Computer Repair

Every so often, a study comes out declaring that your keyboard is germier than your toilet seat.

So, office workers shouldn't be offended if the computer repair person brings his or her keyboard and mouse instead of using yours.



Of course, the primary reason that a keyboard has so much more bacteria on it than a toilet seat has more to do with how frequently it is cleaned than the germs it is exposed to.

As Gerba explained, janitors often don't clean individual desks because they are considered a private space.

Of course, if you're the only one using your keyboard, that isn't a concern.

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