|In a study by Kimberly-Clark Professional, 39% of survey
respondents feared picking up germs in a public restroom more
than any other place. Is there good reason for the fear or are
people overly concerned? Can you reduce the risks?
WHAT'S IN THERE - CAN IT HURT YOU?
Without getting too specific, there are many germs that can
thrive in restrooms. Bacteria live off of moisture and organic
food (or waste)- which can be plentiful in public restrooms.
Fears of contacting STD's (sexually transmitted diseases) from a
public washroom have more to do with the fear of the disease than
the likelihood of picking it up in a washroom. Many of these
bacteria and viruses do not live long enough outside the body to
be easily transmitted. However, some experts admit there is a
theoretical risk of herpes or crabs being contracted under
certain - but unlikely - conditions. Some public facilities
provide flushable toilet seat covers, antibacterial cleansers or
you can line the seat with toilet paper.
Of greater concern are salmonella and shigella bacteria which can
be transferred by contact with feces. The infected person can
transmit the bacteria on their hands which can then be
transferred to flushing handles, door handles and faucets.
RESTROOM HYGIENE - BATTLING BACTERIA
Foul odors, lack of supplies and puddles on the floors can all be
signs of improper maintenance.
Odor that comes from public washrooms can be caused by urine in
tile grouting. If the floors aren't properly cleaned daily (or
more) then the uric acid salts will not be removed with regular
cleansers. These salts provide a food source for bacteria whose
digestive processes give off the foul odor.
Products like MicroGuard (tm) from AllDura and even stainless
steel can reduce the maintenance required to keep bacteria growth
to a minimum.
A lack of supplies (toilet paper, hand drying towels or soap) can
also increase the unhygienic conditions of a restroom. Overly
crowded restrooms can suffer from a lack of supplies or a lack of
available sinks, soap dispensers or dryers.
PERSONAL HYGIENE - THE MAGIC WEAPON
It is the simple truth that hand washing will drastically cut the
chance for germ transference. A study done by Scott Papers found
that more than nine out of ten respondents claimed to wash their
hands when using public restrooms. However, only 67% were
actually observed doing so.
As manufacturers of paper products, including towels, the company
also states that drying hands thoroughly is imperative in
practicing proper hygiene. The moisture left on hands can still
carry bacteria. Because of this, air drying machines may not be
enough protection since many individuals do not use them long
enough to thoroughly dry their hands.
The knowledge that proper washing and drying can protect you from
even unsavory public restrooms is comforting. The fact that
public washrooms still need to provide the basics for good
hygiene, as well as good maintenance is something that needs
work. Carrying an antibacterial gel for emergency use is
recommended when visiting a public area.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any
health care program.
About the author:
Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on topical health matters.
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