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
The bacterium is found on toilet seats due to
Shigellosis can cause symptoms similar to severe food
poisoning such as abdominal pain and in more severe
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
2. E. coli:
The well-known and dreaded E. Coli virus can also be
found on toilet seats and its transmission is similar to
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.
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.
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.
Characterised 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
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
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
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.