Many of us thoughtlessly expose ourselves to life-threatening diseases with one bad bathroom habit.

Never Do This in the Bathroom

In All Health Watch, Featured Article, General Health by INH Research6 Comments

Each day millions of us put ourselves at risk for serious infection through a simple action.

It is so common we don’t think twice about it. But after you read this, you will never do it again.

We all know that our homes harbor germs in the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom—just about every room in the house. But usually we recognize this fact, and take actions to lessen our risk. We scrub, disinfect, vacuum, wash our hands, and maybe even take our shoes off before entering the house.

But there is one act that we do without thinking in our bathroom. Almost everybody is guilty at one time or another.

A new study finds it puts us at great risk for nasty infections immediately and longer term. And they can be life-threatening.

It’s all about how you flush your toilet. You’ve probably been doing it wrong this whole time…

The simple act of flushing the toilet with the lid up causes polluted water to vaporize. It erupts unseen out of the bowl. The vapor disperses and settles over nearby surfaces. It covers them in potentially disease-causing germs.

Researchers from Leeds Teaching Hospital in Britain found that after lid-up flushes, an average of 15 to 47 contaminated toilet water droplets landed in the nearby environment.1,2,3

One microbiologist pointed out, “If you have your toothbrush too close to the toilet, you are brushing your teeth with what’s in your toilet.”4

There are a myriad of germs in human waste. But doctors are particularly worried about one. It’s called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. This bacteria can cause anything from annoying diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

It is often found in people who are taking antibiotics. Antibiotics lessen the body’s ability to keep C. diff in check.5,6

Researchers say you should ALWAYS close the toilet lid before flushing. Scientists found no dispersed fecal bacteria after lid-down flushes.7

What if the toilet does not have a lid, as in a public restroom? Doctors’ best advice is to flush and then move quickly out of the stall area before vapor can settle.

Here are other tips to keep your bathroom as free of germs as possible:8

  • Germs can grow in a showerhead that has been idle for more than a couple days. Flush a longtime idle shower head with hot water for two minutes before showering.
  • Switch from ceramic or plastic cups to disposable paper cups. Permanent cups can become loaded with bacteria and viruses.
  • Use color coded towels. Or mark them. This keeps one person’s germs away from another’s.
  • Use a bleach product to wipe down toilet handles, seats, lids, faucets, cupboard handles, doorknobs, shower door handles, and any other surface you touch with your hands.

And of course, wash your hands after using the bathroom.

In Good Health,

Angela Salerno
Publisher, INH Health Watch

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References:
1http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/germs-in-bathroom
2http://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701%2811%2900339-2/abstract
3http://www.cmaj.ca/content/184/11/E581
4http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/germs-in-bathroom
5http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/01/02/flushing-can-spread-diarrhea-disease/
6http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/clostridium-difficile-colitis
7http://www.cmaj.ca/content/184/11/E581
8http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/germs-in-bathroom

Comments

  1. I’ve been closing the toilet lid (and I got my son to do the same), ever since I saw a segment about this on Dr. Oz. I’m wondering about the toilet lid and seat not being perfectly tight because of the round plastic (or rubber) under the lid/seat. Can’t bad stuff come out between the lid and seat and seat and the toilet itself? They should be completely air and water tight to be completely safe. Needless to say, I am about as germophobic(sp.) and OCD as a person can get without being considered officially OCD.

  2. you are 1/2 way there get back with me

  3. Wow, this sounds like when the Japanese were so germ-phobic they were convinced everyone should use anti-bacterial everything. If it touched or came near your body it SHOULD be anti-bacterial. Look where that got us. If this article doesn’t raise your fear response, your blood pressure and your tendency to go hide under the bed…uh ohh.. not there that’s where dust bunnies hang out and we all know they’re loaded with germs. Anyway, if this article doesn’t have you running for the nearest chemical disinfectant to hose down everything in sight, read the other “related articles” above and then liberally spray down your cellphone and everything you touch or come in contact with. That way, whenever you do come in contact with any bacteria, virus or germ, it will have the perfect place to multiply, no immune response to recognize it as foreign. I haven’t had a cold since I can’t remember when, only had the flu twice since 1979, and never had a flu shot or any other vaccination since getting out of the military in 1960. I don’t get infections even after working outdoors shoveling horse manure for our gardens, none of which are sprayed with any kind of pesticide or germ killers. The immune system is a wonderful invention, too bad more of us don’t know how it works and use it. On his deathbed Louis Pasteur said “Bernard was correct. I was wrong. The microbe (germ) is nothing. The terrain (milieu) is everything.” (Do a search for Claude Bernard to see what he said and what Pasteur finally admitted was correct) Of course, we always have the option to: flush and run.

  4. Generally the doors of public facilities swing outward so that in the case of fire or other disaster people can evacuate quickly. An exception, the doors of public restrooms generally swing inward. This means that patrons who use the facilities and wash their hands carefully may pick up the germs left by those who did not wash their hands or germs in the air when they wrap their hand around the door handle to pull the door open. Seems the public health people are sleeping on the switch.

  5. I can’t believe you recommend using a bleach product to wipe things down in the bathroom or anywhere in your home. Check the EWG.org site to read about bleach. Many respiratory allergies, and even asthma, can be caused or worsened by using bleach. We need to get toxic products like bleach, Lysol, and many other personal care products out of our homes. Those who have done this have found that allergies and other illnesses have gone away within one week of removing these toxic products from their home, and using safe, natural, plant based products instead.

  6. Excellent article! Glass, ceramic and stainless steel cups I would recommend and either keep them in the cabinet in the bathroom or in a large enough plastic container. Wash and rinse and dry with hairdryer and store. Foam or paper cups are toxic and paper cups the chemical wax lining also, the only paper cups lined with beeswax are safe albeit hard to find.

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