Does the thought of going to a public toilet make your bladder shrivel in disgust and insides clench? Or do you really not give a shit?
If you’re one of those people who pad the seat with toilet paper, use supplied ‘toilet-liners’ (providing they actually exist anywhere outside of America), or do an awkward hover to avoid catching any unwanted germs, then scientists have news for you.
It’s all basically pointless.
In breaking research, an infectious disease specialist (real job, I checked), has announced that toilet liners have more to do with providing comfort and reassurance to the user than actually doing anything to prevent disease. So whoever’s been telling you that you’ll catch some sort of STI by sitting on a public toilet seat is wrong.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center had this to say to the Huffington Post:
“Toilet seats are not vehicle for the transmission of any infectious agents – you won’t catch anything.”
While there is disease-causing bacteria – such as E. coli and streptococcous – on a toilet seat, the skin on our behinds basically serves as an effective, protective barrier.
An anonymous survey taken, with reputable sources (people on Facebook) ranging in ages from 20 – 30 showed that protocol when using public toilets was mixed.
“I do hover, though I find it extremely uncomfortable,” one participant stated.
“In general I am not a hoverer. Although in DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES (like, really really dire) I do. I have been in some – ahem – unappealing camping ground toilets in my time, in which I may hover / put toilet paper on the seat,” one lady admitted.
“At work it’s like playing musical chairs. Walk into one stall – nope. Into the next -nope. It takes a long time to find one that doesn’t look like Shrek had a field day in there.”
The majority of participants said they weren’t overly fazed unless the toilet was visibly dirty, though some were on the opposite end, saying they avoided public toilets at all costs.
A women’s health physical therapist stated on women’s health site Fem Fusion Fitness that the hovering technique is a big no-no, after a majority of women suffering from bladder control issues admitting to hovering over the toilet seat to urinate.
Apparently what does help to reduce the spread of gastrointestinal illness is simply using good old soap and water to thoroughly wash your hands.
For more information, take a look at this video below:
What’s your opinion on public toilets? Don’t care, or avoid at all costs?