(CBS News)-- With up to 4,000 Americans dying weekly from the flu, catching the bug is a risk you don't want to take. But medical professionals say it's not just about who you come in contact with, it's also what you come in contact with.
Dr. Chris Mason, a geneticist at Weill Cornell Medicine, used a four-step method known as shotgun sequencing to test common workplace areas where viruses and bacteria like the flu could be hiding.
Mason said the hot-spots where you might find the most microbes and influenza are "high touch" areas like the kitchen sink, door handles, and elevator buttons.
The CDC said the influenza virus can live on some surfaces for up to a day. Another study found that over a quarter of Americans admitted to coming in to work sick. So, CBS News swabbed four common office spots to see where the dangers lie.
The Break Room
"This is an area where people touch a lot, things splash around. ... Essentially things can grow because it's a moist enough area," Mason told CBS News.
The Conference Room
"Basically, cells and viruses and other sort of entities can build up in the small porous areas," Mason said, mentioned that fabric-covered chairs and couches are "basically like a sponge" when it comes to picking up microbes.
The Stair Railing
"This is really a place where many many hands are touching," he said. "One really good thing, though, is that it's steel. The viruses do not live long on steel, neither do most bacteria."
With an active flu season, Mason recommended wiping down your keyboard every day you're at work.
The swabs were taken to a lab for testing. While the results didn't detect flu, other viruses and bacteria were present. The keyboard was reportedly the most contaminated, followed by the break room, the railing and the conference room.