Flushing without lowering the cap or not washing hands before leaving pose a greater risk of infection.
Each time you use the bathroom of a bar, a movie theater or a mall, walk earrings that nothing touches our skin, thinking that hordes of microscopic germs can attack orc faces. But how can we really get sick from contact with the toilet bowl?
Poor hygiene is described by the WHO as one of the main risk factors for the acquisition of infectious diseases. If we place this in a context such as the use of public toilets, is easy to understand that all kinds of ideas of contagion we come to mind, I thought that the conditions necessary cleaning may not be the most appropriate: the bathroom have many people used along one day, even though at the time it has been disinfected.
“The surface of a dirty bathroom can become an ideal place where microorganisms find the necessary conditions of humidity and temperature to grow and develop,” said Dr. Alejandra Perez-Garcia, Clinical Microbiology Department of the University Hospital of Navarre.
The main microorganisms that can be colonized this habitat are micrococci, staphylococci, corynebaterias, streptococci … And are the champions of resistance. The Journal of the American Society for Microbiology published in the December issue a curious study conducted in four public restrooms at the University of San Diego, two women and two men, two open to the public and two exclusive use of teachers.
They analyzed toilet seats, the floor in front of them and soap dispensers. They all thoroughly cleaned with bleach before then took samples for eight weeks. The result was unequivocal: the bacteria are very stubborn.
Only an hour after disinfection, microbes had returned to the bathroom and had 6,200 bacteria per square centimeter, 45% of fecal origin and another 45% associated with the skin in both toilet bowls and soap dispensers.
Although much they cleaned the bathrooms, five to eight hours after their status back to the starting point, and there was no difference between the indoor and outdoor toilets, or between men and women.
Scientists found out that one of the keys of bacterial dispersion was water discharge of the tank without closing the lid, as if an aerosol disperse fecal bacteria everywhere.
So better do not you sit on the toilet or make a public bathroom but with paper cup? “It is best to always avoid sitting in the cup,” said Dr. Perez-Garcia, “there are those who in their recommendations, the use of plastics used on the surface of the cup or dry paper.
This prevents wet but does not eliminate any microorganisms that are located right there and, on the other hand, it is not often the existence of protective plastic at the public toilets. Caution, without producing an alarm condition is necessary for the lack of real hygiene given at these sites, so the answer is yes, you need to be cautious in their use and prevent lean “.
However, before dying of disgust, the good news is that the odds of infection simply by sitting on a public toilet, even contaminated with pathogens, are very few.
“A healthy person entering a public toilet that is maintained in hygienic conditions that can occur in our wealthy and regulated developed societies, has a very low probability of being infected [you feel or not],” said Miguel Vicente, professor CSIC Research at the National Center for Biotechnology and division president of Bacteriology and Applied Microbiology of the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS).
For getting a disease, the skin of the person using the toilet should have a wound and that the evil virus in question acceded through it. “And it’s not impossible, but not usual.”
What if the bathroom is a mess? “If we start at the other end, if we go to a toilet is really sloppy and used by a patient suffering from a severe intestinal infection, then those likely to have an infection increase, especially if in addition we ourselves do not keep the minimum conditions hygiene such as washing your hands after use.
Much of intestinal infections are transmitted through the digestive tract, with contaminated food or dirt on our hands if they come into contact with the feces of a patient, or even if they shared the same towel, “says researcher CSIC.
That’s the key. More to the toilet, which must concern us is that we do not forget to wash hands after use, because there are many everyday surfaces such as faucets and countertops, converted into real resorts luxury all-inclusive wrist band for germs.
Dr. Chuck Gerba, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Arizona, has discovered in his research that the toilet seat in the middle contains about 50 fecal bacteria per 2.54 cm square (one square inch), so the becomes one of the most clean household surfaces in what regards to germs, and well below, for example, mobile phone, with 10 times more fecal bacteria; cutting board in the kitchen, with 200 times more; office desk, with 400 times more; or the champion of microbes, dry cloth, with 20,000 times more, especially from the bacteria E. coli, that alone does not cause serious disease but is an indicator that there are remains of feces.
One of the latest studies John Oxford, professor of virology at the University of London and director of the Health Council, an international body that compares hygiene standards worldwide, examined samples of households in nine countries and found the 21% of dishcloths visibly clean had high levels of pollution, followed by the inside of refrigerators: over 40% of households had high levels of bacteria and mold, while 36% of kitchen towels had unacceptable levels (These and other equally disturbing data are available on the website of the Council of Hygiene).
“One of the parts of a house that contains fewer germs is the toilet, and specifically the toilet. It is due to two reasons.
One, which tends to clean more meticulously; and other bacteria found little that feed on it. On the contrary, one of the most polluted places is the kitchen, and within the sponge scrub the dishes.
Bacteria that live also usually harmless and often the worst thing to do is rot with fresh food that may come into contact, but proliferate because the amount of food they find is there greater.
Normally, cleaning utensils if done correctly, with suitable detergent, eliminates most bacteria. Utensils to air dry after cleaning is an important precaution, because it eliminates small water tanks that could grow. Both the toilet and in the kitchen, it is preferable to use detergents better than bar soap in which bacteria can multiply at will dispensers “adds Miguel Vicente.
But it is not just “do not touch anything” to enter public restrooms. Although everything is clean, another study published in the journal Journal of Hospital Infection by researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK concluded that the spread of bacteria in the air is 27 times around a hand dryer than traditional towels Paper and worse if the dryer is one of those new to introduce hands between powerful jets.
The same explanation to download without lowering the tank lid: bacteria (fecal and otherwise) are ejected by way of contaminated aerosol can breathe or swallow. “In these cases we must understand that it is likely that we swallow the same microbes that we just mostly deposit, which will only be a danger if we suffer an infection,” the expert CSIC.
“Aerosols produced in these cases may contain the germ that causes respiratory infections in healthy people usually resolve without serious consequences, but not in those who are weakened by other diseases, in which case they can cause major problems.”