Lately, I think I have been infected by a colleague in my room with a fungal infection as his hands are full of it and he comes over to use my keyboard.

I never realised it until now, as it has gone from my nail (spreading across) to my head (and I am losing hair like crazy) and I asked a doctor if it could be spread from person to person and he said yes.

This colleague of mine is senior to me and I report to him. I cannot go and say: "Because of you I've got a health issue".

How can I deal with it before I have it all on my skin too, as my nail has already got much worse and medicines aren't working?

  • 2
    No need to accuse him of anything. Just something like "I think I've caught your infection, what do I have to do to treat it?"
    – Kaz
    Jul 12, 2017 at 10:21
  • @Kaz He is of a sort, who says, "It doesn't matter". I know because he would point out to himself and say what can go wrong
    – user15704
    Jul 12, 2017 at 10:23
  • 6
    I'm curious why this question is being downvoted.
    – Erik
    Jul 12, 2017 at 11:17
  • "Deal with it" in which way? Doctors should be the ones to cure you, but of course it's an option to ask your coworker what treatment worked for them (if they're better now) or which treatments they're tried. If you're looking to avoid getting infected again or you or your coworker infecting others, that's a different question entirely (which needs to be prefaced with how it spreads and the answer there should be fairly obvious). Jul 12, 2017 at 11:58
  • 3
    @Erik: Probably because it looks like a X-Y problem. OP should discuss this with their doctor first, and find out what exactly the coworker can or cannot do to help. Then go to them.
    – sleske
    Jul 12, 2017 at 14:23

3 Answers 3


There are two options, talk to him directly or talk to his manager.

If he respects what you have to say you should be fine telling him that you noticed the fungus (on yourself) and that you went to the doctor and the doctor said that it was probably a transmittable one. You then noticed that's what he has. Ask him if he's aware of it, if he's seen a doctor already, ask him if he can suggest any meds (non prescription ones), and if he hasn't been to a doctor then suggest that he should definitely go to a doctor to check it out sooner than later.

If he's the type of guy who is simply not going to want to hear what you have to say, then approach his manager and have him tackling this, just like you'd ask a manager to handle an employee who doesn't care about hygiene. This is a very similar case, main difference is though that talking about hygiene would probably be too awkward to talk about in person so you'd simply let a manager handle it.

Evaluate how he would react to your comment and determine what impact the conversation will have on your work-relationship, and act accordingly.

You should not put up with him using your keyboard, however, meanwhile he has this going on. Don't. Work is not more important than your health. If he refuses to listen then you need to talk to your manager or in this case, his.

  • 1
    I don't think asking him if he is on medication for it is good move. OP has no right to know that. I would keep everything up to "You then noticed that's what he has" then strike the rest of that paragraph. Jul 12, 2017 at 10:41
  • I've re-phrased it. Thanks. I think it's important to know whether he's intending to go to a doctor or if he's went. If he's showing no signs of wanting to go when he's a threat to the workplace's health.
    – Jonast92
    Jul 12, 2017 at 10:48
  • 2
    I agree that it is a threat to the workplace and OPs health, but it is not OPs place to find out if he intends to go to a doctor. That would be a conversation between him and his manager. OP definitely need to bring this up with the guy (and possibly the manager), but that's really all he can do. Talking to other co-workers about medical stuff can get sticky fast and it can also put people on the defensive. Jul 12, 2017 at 10:52
  • I think he would have gone to doctor. As he sometimes use some lotion,
    – user15704
    Jul 12, 2017 at 11:20
  • @SaggingRufus That's why I think it's a better idea to go discuss this with a manager.
    – Jonast92
    Jul 12, 2017 at 11:29

I would go talk to HR. This is a breach of health and safety as you'll find that everyone is responsible for taking adequate steps to ensure the safety of others in the workplace.

Explain to them that you'll need some time off to recover fully (Seriously, your health comes first), and that you need to know what steps HR will take to help ensure that it doesn't reoccur. This may be as simple as them providing some cleaning wipes for you to use on your keyboard.

If he's had this for a while, then he know's he's got it; and failure to take steps to ensure it doesn't spread is negligence. Doesn't matter if he's your manager, it doesn't give him the right to spread diseases.


Stop messing around on the internet and go see a proper doctor first. The doctor will be the best person to tell you how you got the infection. You can move forwards from what information the doctor gives you. Whoever you saw who didn't give you any treatment was a waste of money.

Don't go to your manager or the senior until you have hard evidence that the senior infected you and sort out your own health issues before anything else.

  • 2
    OP already mentioned both a doctor and medicine, so this seems like more of a comment than an answer (a useful comment to be sure, but still a comment). Medicine can take some time to work and, if watching House has taught me anything, it's that diagnosis and finding a working treatment can be hard. Jul 12, 2017 at 11:50
  • 4
    The question mentions having visited a doctor, and taking medication that isn't working. The OP is asking how to deal with the senior in question.
    – rath
    Jul 12, 2017 at 11:50
  • 1
    yeah? I read the question, I'm advising the OP to go see a real doctor instead of the quack. If your medication doesn't work, you don't go take someone elses, you go to a doctor... unsure how you guys handle such things, but that is the proper way.
    – Kilisi
    Jul 12, 2017 at 11:56
  • 3
    If another doctor has already figured out the proper treatment for this specific strain of whatever (or even if a bunch of treatments were tried and failed), of course that information can be very useful for your doctor. I'd never recommend just taking the same medication as someone else without consulting a doctor for anything serious. This is not a medical Q&A, so questions relating to proper courses of treatment are off topic, so either this question focuses on the issue of discussing it with the coworker or it should be closed instead of answered. Jul 12, 2017 at 12:02

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