Scientists analyzed how toilet flushes spread common viruses for decades, but answers aren’t very suggestive yet.
As we progress through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people are continually searching for new ways to decrease the risk of exposure to the novel virus.
Unfortunately, the activity we can’t control is going to the bathroom.
What happens if you use the bathroom after somebody who’s infected?
Viruses can’t physically move on their own – They need a transport medium like droplets or aerosols that can travel for a few meters through the air.
Scientists analyzed how aerosols from toilets can spread pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 – The results were partially shocking!
It turned out that toilet flushes can truly spread virus-carrying-aerosols. However, they are still trying to determine if those aerosols can get people sick.
Though COVID-19 patients manifest fever, cough, and breathing problems, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also lists gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea.
Research shows the virus in urine and feces of COVID-19 patients and identified the virus’s RNA in toilets and sewers.
Still, there are no confirmed cases of people contracting the disease through exposure to the virus from feces or urine.
Some researchers and people who have to use a bathroom while on the go are still wondering if public restrooms are still safe considering the actual context.
Scientists from Southeast University are concerned about the same question and used computational fluid dynamics models to figure out how flushing a toilet can guide water from a toilet bowl into the air.
It turns out that flushing a toilet provokes a cloud of thousands of aerosol droplets that rises about a meter into the air if the lid isn’t down.