This Is the Filthiest Item in Your Doctor’s Office

The dirtiest thing in your doctor’s office probably isn’t what you think. Here’s just how gross it is, and how to avoid it.

The filthiest item in your doctor's officePhoto: ShutterStock

Bet you can’t guess the filthiest item in your doctor’s office…

Doctor visits should help us beat the common cold, prevent health issues, and generally keep us well. But beyond sick people coughing and sneezing in the waiting room are germs in places you never knew. (These are the 11 public places with the most germs.) In fact, new research conducted by found that the item with the most germs is actually the clipboard pen used to sign paperwork.

Researchers tested a few commonly used items around three general physicians’ offices to see which surface was the “germiest.” They conducted 12 tests across four surfaces they determined were touched most by both patients and doctors in the office.

The results were cringeworthy. The clipboard pen has more than 46,000 times more germs than an average toilet seat. “[The] analysis of a few general doctors’ office items revealed the clipboard pen was alive with germs to the tune of almost 8 million colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch,” the report says. “If that term has you scratching your head, it simply refers to the bacteria’s capability to live and reproduce to form other bacteria of the same kind.” Find out 13 more things you didn’t know about germs.

The doctor’s keyboard ranked second dirtiest followed by the waiting room chair armrest and the door handle—all of which also harbour more bacteria than a toilet seat. Consider that the most common bacteria sampled were strains that cause pneumonia and sepsis. It might be worth bringing your own pen to the office and keeping your hands to yourself. Next, check out eight more doctor appointment mistakes you didn’t realize you were making.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest