The Germiest Jobs

Thinking of making a career change? You may want to think twice before picking one of these jobs. Experts say these workers are exposed to more germs than any other profession



    Teachers Kids harbor tons of germs. Think about this: They don't always wash their hands, especially after wiping their noses, going to the bathroom or sneezing. And they do tend to get sick a lot. So, it makes sense that all those germs would spread around the classroom.  Surfaces regularly used by teachers have 10 times more bacteria per square inch when compared to other professions, according to several studies.   

    Tech Support

    Tech Support Twenty-five computers from the University of North Carolina's hospital were tested for bacteria, and researchers found every single computer harbored two or more microorganisms.  A survey by the American Dietician Association found that while 57 percent of workers snack at their desks at least once during the day, 20 percent never clean them.  So when your computer breaks down, who do you call? Techs from the IT department, who have to touch those germy surfaces. 


    Laundry Services Dry cleaners across the country are now offering laundry services, which means handling a person's dirty underwear. Or maybe you handle laundry in a hospital. Either way, it's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  There is approximately .1 gram of fecal matter in a piece of underwear, amounting to about 100 million E. coli bacteria.


    Butcher When you bring home a piece of uncooked meat, you are sure to cook it through at high temperatures to decrease your risk of salmonella, E. coli and/or listeria. But if you are surrounded by cases of uncooked meat, your chances of being exposed to those germs are increased greatly.  In December 2008, 12 workers at a pork processing plant in Austin, Minn., came down with a neurological illness, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said was progressive inflammatory neuropathy. Investigators do not know the exact cause, but it appeared to be due to contact with pig brain tissue.


    Veterinarian  Dogs and cats may be cute, but they carry germs and bacteria, especially if they are sick. And a vet has to handle more than those furry creatures -- they treat birds and reptiles, too.  There are more than 250 zoonotic diseases, according the American Veterinary Medical Association. These diseases present themselves in the form of bacteria, viruses and fungal infections.  Vets are exposed to parasites, rabies, ringworms and animal waste on a daily basis. They can also be exposed to diseases such as psittacosis, a bacterial infection frequently transmitted by birds; salmonella, which is found in animal feces; or leptospirosis, a bacterial infection transmitted through urine.   

    Crime Scene Cleaners

    Crime Scene Cleaners Remember the movie "Sunshine Cleaning?" These people deal with the aftermath of violent crimes, so they literally clean up blood and other bodily fluids. Once the police are done with their investigation, these guys return the scene back to its original condition. Crime scene cleaners deal with bio-loads, which are microbes dispersed after the crime. All body fluids are considered a source of infection and considered bio-hazardous, according to U.S. federal regulations.   


    Doctor Patients see a doctor for a variety of reasons, some of which include coughs, colds, diarrhea or rashes, all of which are contagious. Not to mention, drug-resistant staph infections are running rampant in hospitals these days. It's no wonder that doctors and nurses often wash their hands and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Researchers studied the neckties of 42 doctors, physician’s assistants and medical students. The study also looked at the ties of 10 hospital security guards. Almost half of the doctors’ ties carried bacteria that can cause such illnesses as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. The doctors’ ties were eight times more likely to contain bacteria than ties worn by the guards, according to the website CleanLink.


    Plumber This job deserves the most respect because it has the biggest "Eww!" factor. Plumbers definitely have to wear plastic gloves to keep their hands germ-free when unclogging someone's toilet or drain. Not only is there fecal matter in your toilet, but drains and pipes are excellent breeding grounds for bacteria since they are so moist.  Gross, right?

    Cashier/Bank Teller

    Cashier/Bank Teller Money is one of the germiest things we come into contact with every day. Think about how many hands a dollar bill will touch in just one day -- and then think about whether or not those hands have been washed! Perhaps the person who last touched the money was handling raw meat, or blew his nose or went to the bathroom. . . Bacteria are tiny, and money acts as a magnet. Geneva scientists found that a strain of the H1N1 virus can live on paper money for up to three days.
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