The Real Danger of Public Bathrooms According to Science!

The Real Danger of Public Bathrooms According to Science!
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While absolutely necessary and even unavoidable sometimes, most people would rather not have to use public bathrooms at all and it’s no surprise to anyone!

After all, they are usually dirty looking and just filled with all kinds of bacteria and perhaps even diseases, all of which you can’t see but which are very much still a threat to your health, right?

But you’re probably wondering, is all of this fear when it comes to using public toilets warranted or is it just that – an unfounded fear and in reality there is little or even nothing to worry about?

Well, the New York Times asked scientists to clear this out once and for all – “What’s the actual risk of public toilet seats?”

Naturally, as you might be aware, at least to a certain extent, most pathogens are not actually transmitted that way but there is always a risk, no matter how small.

If you would like to minimize that risk as much as possible, you should probably ensure that you follow a few simple but very important hygiene rules when stopping by a public bathroom.

  • First of all, it would do you good to use a disinfecting wipe on the toilet seat before sitting down onto it.
  • One thing that you should never do is place your bag or purse on the bathroom floor while doing your business.
  • As tempting as it may be, avoid using your phone while in there.
  • Last but not least, wash your hands really well when you’re done!

According to professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, Charles Gerba, most pathogens found in public bathrooms reach surfaces you can touch through the toilet bowl since feces and sometimes even urine can contain many viruses and bacteria.

This is most of the time a result of flushing, a process that allows the microbes to be dispersed in an aerosolized plume that is capable of reaching no less than 5 feet up into the air.

Not only that but, as per several studies, they can then remain suspended there for an hour or more before finally falling back down and settling onto various surfaces.

Dr. Gerba explains that “All public toilets really get contaminated to some degree just because of the flushing action of the toilet.”

He went on to add that after each use of a public toilet, “the best option is to wash your hands, and then use a hand sanitizer on the way out.”


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Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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