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How fast does the flu spread around your office?

PHOENIX — With Tuesday marking the first day of autumn, flu season is rapidly approaching, and many are concerned about Arizona’s preparedness. And according to a study released this year, those who are most susceptible to the virus are the least ready for it.

According to the Trust for America’s Health, during the 2012-2013 flu season, 38.3 percent of Arizonans 6 months and older got a flu shot, ranking 49th among all states and the District of Columbia. Among those ages 18-64, 27.3 percent were vaccinated, ranking 50th.

These working-age people who are so unlikely to be vaccinated, often because they have the busiest lives, are actually the most likely develop the flu, said Jennifer Tinney, program director with The Arizona Partnership for Immunization.

This is likely because of how contaminated offices can be, and often are, unless employees take precautions.

According to a new study by Charles Gerba, a germ researcher at the University of Arizona, once a virus is on an office doorknob, it’s only a matter of hours until it’s found on 40 to 60 percent of employees in the workplace.

In that same time period, the virus will also make its way onto 40-60 percent of commonly-used objects, like printers and elevator buttons.

But Arizona’s working population isn’t doomed to inevitably suffer the flu this season — there are measures that can be taken to escape those dreadful chills, sneezes and fevers.

Here’s what you can do to significantly reduce your chances of catching the flu this year:


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