Infection Prevention: Public Restrooms

One of the germiest places a person experiences in their day-to-day lives is the public restroom. In fact, the average public restroom can host as many as 77,000 different types of bacteria and viruses. The last thing you want to do is get sick, so here are some steps you can take to keep yourself safe and healthy:

  1. Locate and use the visibly cleanest toilet: Keep in mind that restrooms tend to be cleaner in establishments with higher cleaning standards, such as hospitals, hotels, and restaurants. If you must use the restroom in a high-traffic area such as an airport or sports arena, try to not take any of the end stalls, or any stall directly in the middle, as they are more frequently used.
  2. Never place your belongings on the floor: Other than inside the toilet itself, the highest concentration of germs is found on the bathroom’s floor. Objects that are set on the floor pick up those germs and transfer them onto you.
  3. Flush smart: Never touch the flush handle with your hands as this transmits germs directly onto them. Make sure to close the lid (when possible) before you flush so that germs aren’t thrown into the air from the force of the flush.
  4. Wash your hands: The most obvious (and most important) step you can take to fight off infection is to wash your hands with soap. Wash for 20 seconds, then rinse. If the faucet is not automatic, turn off the waterflow with a paper towel.
  5. Dry your hands: After washing your hands, make sure to dry them off quickly and thoroughly as bacteria multiply faster on wet hands versus dry ones. Paper towels tend to be more sanitary than air dryers as the force from air dryers throw germs into the air.
  6. Avoid touching door handles or other surfaces: You’ve just washed your hands; the last thing you need is to get them dirty again. Use automatic dispensers where possible and use your elbow or a paper towel to open the door.

Using a public restroom can seem daunting with how many germs and viruses are about. Follow these tips to stop the spread of infection!