So yesterday I observed a foul smell emanating from the toilet downstairs. It’s hardly ever in use and so it doesn’t get flushed regularly. I immediately concluded that it was a “back smell” one of the things that the water closet system was originally designed to prevent. I resorted to continuous flushing (never mind the water bill) and a thought occurred to me there and then. “How do people use the public toilets?”
I have given my lady M several lectures on how to use a public toilet. First, you wipe the seat clean, then comes the lining of the seat with a layer or two of tissues. But there’s one important point I forgot and which I must share when she comes home, it is to always flush before you use a public toilet; preferably with the lid down.
As I always do, I proceeded to research this idea before writing about it, and here’s what I found. I was totally right about the idea of wiping the seats and layering. Flushing the toilet before use is my way of forcing some germs out into the drain hole before I use.
This way, I am exposed to fewer fecal germs from other people, especially when a splash from the toilet hits you square on the bottom…yuck!! I often flush before using at home though; but I must confess, I rarely put the lid down before doing so.
Now, here’s the deal. When you flush the toilet with the lid open, it is fact that aerosols containing diverse bacteria and viruses rise into the environment and depending on the venue, could settle on you, your toothbrushes, and other available surfaces. This is such a crazy thought. But it is also absolutely true.
Ok, so if you don’t have a medicine cabinet in the bathroom and your brushes go in a cup on top of the bathroom sink/counter, you need to either improvise or get a toothbrush cap.
These aerosols are capable of causing infections and the aerosols can be air-borne for considerable lengths of time after each flush! Now mentally questioning and advising myself on the expedience of restaurant and fast food toilets!!
If you’re like me, the “yuckiness” of it all scares you more than the threat of infection. Though minimal, the threat is however very real; and like most other infections very preventable.
Please always flush the toilet with the lid down, regardless of whether you’re at home or using the public loo.
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Writer – DCR is a personal Health Blog that seeks to improve general health by offering useful health tips and public health information that are both (personally) experienced and researched.