Do you dread using a public toilet? Well, you are not alone.
Using a public toilet gives many people the jitters.
There’s no refuting the fact that public toilets harbour plenty of bugs.
Germs can inhabit the seat, the floor, the sink, as well as surfaces you touch with your hands — the doorknob, the flush handle, the tap handle, the dryer, etc.
And after a toilet flush, germs can travel up to 6 feet and linger in the air for up to 2 hours!
Here are 5 diseases you never knew you really can get from public toilets,so in order to avoid them make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and be careful where you sit and what you touch.
According to the 1999 World Health Organization Report by Clemens, Kotloff and Bradford on the ‘Generic protocol
to estimate the burden of Shigella diarrhoea and dysenteric mortality’, the transmission of the disease is extremely quick and takes place due to person-to-person contact.
The bacterium is found on toilet seats due to faecal matter. Shigellosis can cause symptoms similar to severe food
poisoning such as abdominal pain and in more severe cases, dysentery. The severity of dysentery is characterised by cramps, diarrhoea, fever vomiting and blood in stools. The disease can last for up to one week and the symptoms are usually observable between 12 to 96 hours.
2. E. coli:
The well-known and dreaded E. Coli virus can also be found on toilet seats and its transmission is similar to Shigellosis.
The bacterium is transmitted through faecal-oral contact and latches on to anything it comes into contact with, whether it is your skin or your personal belongings.
The common symptoms of E. Coli are generally disguised as flu with the person experiencing nausea and vomiting. However, the symptoms can worsen until those infected have bloody diarrhoea and, in its most severe form, kidney failure and even death.
Bloomfield and Barker from the Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences at Aston University in the United Kingdom wrote a paper about the survival of Salmonella in bathrooms and toilets in domestic homes. Their research can be applied to public toilets which found that salmonella is extremely difficult so much so that you almost have to hope that no one with salmonella has used the public toilet. Those with salmonella develop diarrhoea, fever vomiting and abdominal cramps. The infection can become extremely dangerous if it spreads from the intestines to the blood stream which can cause death unless treated properly.
However, due to the durability of the infection which can withstand freezing as well high temperatures, the treatment of salmonella can sometimes be slower than treating other infections.
4. Crab Louse:
A parasite which is approximately a 2mm long, grey insect can be contracted from public toilets. The parasite attaches itself to pubic hair which for example can come into contact with the toilet seat.
Once attached to the hair, it feeds off human blood and although slow moving they breed quickly and can live for several weeks. The main symptoms of the infestation is itching in the pubic-hair area and in some infestations, a grey-blue colour may appear on the skin where the parasites have been feeding.
Although commonly associated with sexually transmitted diseases, crab lice can also be transferred through dirty
towels and clothing.
Characterized by the World Health Organisation as a water- based diseased in 2010, the parasite, scabies, is usually transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. Found on wet surfaces in a public toilet, scabies is a skin infection caused
by a tiny mite burrowing its way under the skin that causes the symptom of intense itching and superficial burrows.
Those infected with scabies may also notice rashes appearing on their hands, feet, elbows, writs, back
buttocks and genitals. The elderly and people with low immune systems can be susceptible to crusted scabies causing scaly rashes, and thick crusts of skin that contain thousands of mites.
Although medications and treatments are available, due to the possibility of reinfection, the whole household or even community may need to be treated. Next time you are desperate for the toilet, make sure to keep in mind the above 5 diseases you may be at risk of contracting. Always keep a bottle of hand sanitizer to get rid of the germs having exited the public toilet and washed your hands thoroughly. As many of the diseases can be passed from the toilet surfaces or floor, try to keep your personal belongings from touching the floor and other surfaces.
Tips to Prevent Contracting those Nasty Toilet Bugs:
- Use a hand sanitizer or tissue paper while opening the toilet door.
Use a toilet seat cover (available at pharmacies), and if u don’t have one clean the toilet seat with toilet paper (you can do away with this step while using an Indian style toilet).
- When you have no other choice hover closely above the toilet seat.
- Use toilet paper to press flush button.
Flush with the lid down on the toilet seat or exit the place quickly after flushing.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after you use the toilet.
Wipe your hands dry with tissue paper.