Why you shouldnt sit on public toilets?

STIs can be transmitted by soap

In addition to the routine cleaning of toilets, there is another reason why the toilet seat is much less dangerous than cell phones in the transmission of microbes: the area of the skin in contact with the surfaces. Thus, while on the toilet seat, it is only our buttocks and thighs that are in contact with the surface, with cell phones it is our hands. This is a key factor in transmitting and acquiring infectious diseases. The skin is a great barrier against microorganisms and, unless there are wounds or other skin lesions, the risk of getting “infected” because our buttocks and thighs touch the toilet is practically zero.

As many times as you may have heard that you can catch sexually transmitted diseases from sitting on a crummy toilet, the truth is that this is a myth. In order for that to happen, a series of circumstances so remote that it is practically impossible would have to be combined. In fact, there are no documented cases of acquiring these diseases from sitting on the toilet. The reasons? Most bacteria and viruses that cause sexually transmitted diseases die quickly outside the warm human body. For example, the microorganisms that cause gonorrhea, herpes or chlamydia can only survive outside the body for about 10 seconds. Moreover, for contagion to be possible, it would require a relatively large number of microbes to be exposed to, which is extremely difficult to do when coming into contact with the toilet seat. On the other hand, as the name suggests, sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted through sexual contact.

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What happens when you get splashed with toilet water?

If we take into account that the skin is an effective barrier against germs, we would not have to contract any disease by resting our buttocks on the toilet. “If the skin barrier is intact and there is no disease that alters the skin surface, which is already very impermeable, nothing should happen,” explains Ana María Molina Pérez, from the Dermatology Department of the Fundación Jiménez Díaz. However, if we have a skin disease, we should be more careful.

“If the surface is not disinfected, a toilet allows microorganisms -usually viruses such as rotavirus or norovirus- to remain viable for hours or even days,” explains Dr. Reina. But proper toilet maintenance significantly reduces the risk of infections.

For this to happen, many factors would have to coincide: the infected person must have the disease active at the time and must be in contact with the toilet bowl for a long time. In addition, the uninfected person would also have to spend a lot of time sitting on the toilet.

Diseases that can be contracted in bathrooms

If we take into account that the skin is an effective barrier against germs, we would not have to contract any disease by resting our buttocks on the toilet. “If the skin barrier is intact and there is no disease that alters the skin surface, which is already very impermeable, nothing should happen,” explains Ana María Molina Pérez, from the Dermatology Department of the Fundación Jiménez Díaz. Although, if we have any skin disease we should be more careful.

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“If the surface is not disinfected, a toilet allows microorganisms -usually viruses such as rotavirus or norovirus- to remain viable for hours or even days,” explains Dr. Reina. But proper toilet maintenance significantly reduces the risk of infections.

For this to happen, many factors would have to coincide: the infected person must have active disease at the time and must be in contact with the toilet bowl for a long time. In addition, the uninfected person would also have to spend a lot of time sitting on the toilet.

Diseases caused by the use of public toilets

“The viruses (herpes) or bacteria (chlamydia, gonococcus) responsible for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) live very little time outside the human body, and the conditions are not suitable for their survival and contagion,” says Dr. Sandra Ortega, a gynecologist at the Vithas Rey Don Jaime Hospital (Castellón). “In order to become infected with STDs, intimate contact is necessary”.

Once we have washed our hands, it is better to dry them with paper rather than with hand dryers. At least this was shown in a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection by researchers at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

It is also important to take these other measures: do not touch your nose and mouth before washing your hands; do not leave bags or cell phones on the floor -it is always better to hang them up- and do not use cloth towels.

Why you shouldnt sit on public toilets?
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