World Toilet Day is observed on 19th November. The theme for 2018 is “When Nature Calls” which focuses on nature-based sanitation solutions.
Hygiene and sanitation are of an utmost importance when it comes to using toilets. It goes without saying that restrooms harbor numerous bacteria and viruses which puts you at risk of infections. These include throat infections, gut problems, lung problems, and skin infections. The risk is even more when using a public washroom. So this World Toilet day, let’s shed light on some of the basic toilet habits and tips to follow to improve toilet hygiene.
1. Wash your hands every time you visit a washroom.
When you flush, a fine mist of germs is spread all over and onto everything in the vicinity. This includes the door handle, sink, and the floor. Hence, it is advised to ensure you wash your hands every time you visit a washroom. Here is how to wash hands: Wet your hands with clean water, use soap (either liquid or bar) and rub your hands vigorously. Ensure you scrub the area within fingers and then rinse with clean water. Never wash your hands only with water. Also, it is best to use an antibacterial saop for better safety.
2. Always use tissues or paper towels to dry your hands.
Once you wash your hands with soap and water properly, ensure you wipe your hands completely with a tissue paper. If the tap is not an automatic one, use a tissue paper to close the tap to avoid touching it after washing your hands so as to prevent the spread of infections. Do not shake hands with people who have just washed their hands in a restroom, especially when their hands are still wet as there is a high risk of transmission of germs from the wet skin than from dry skin. You can also use a handkerchief if you are carrying one or carry paper towels when visiting a washroom.
3. Avoid the use of a hot air hand dryers in a washroom.
It is advised to not use a hand dryer to dry your hands post using a washroom as hot air hand dryers that blow hot air, expose your hands to various bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, revealed a study published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology. When you flush in a toilet, the bacteria gets dispersed in the air. These bacteria can get deposited on the hands when exposed to hand dryers in a bathroom. So it is wise to either choose paper napkins from the dispenser in the toilet or carry your own paper towels.
4. Carry a hand sanitizer everywhere you go.
Carry a hand sanitizer when traveling or visiting a public washroom as it might lack basic amenities like water and tissue paper. Hence, it is wise to always keep a hand sanitizer as it can come in handy in cases of emergencies. So if you fail to find an antibacterial soap or water to disinfect your hands, a hand sanitizer can do the trick. Do not touch doorknobs after you use a sanitizer. It is better to use a sanitizer after you use a washroom and are out of the public restroom to ensure germ-free hands.
5. Do not spend hours sitting on a toilet seat.
Most often than not, people spend a good amount of time sitting on a toilet seat either reading a newspaper or surfing on a mobile phone. However, this can put you at risk of injuries and back pain. A 2018 study in the Journal of tissue viability revealed that prolonged sitting on inadequate surfaces such as a toilet seat can cause a deep tissue injury. The risk is, even more, higher in older people. Also, sitting in the wrong posture on a toilet seat for long can affect your spine and back, leading to back pain and spinal problems.
1. Del Carmen Huesca-Espitia L, Aslanzadeh J, Feinn R, Joseph G, Murray TS, Setlow P. Deposition of Bacteria and Bacterial Spores by Bathroom Hot Air Hand Dryers. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2018 Feb 9.
2. Lustig M, Levy A, Kopplin K, Ovadia-Blechman Z, Gefen A. Beware of the toilet: The risk for a deep tissue injury during toilet sitting. J Tissue Viability. 2018 Feb;27(1):23-31.
3. Huang C, Ma W, Stack S. The hygienic efficacy of different hand-drying methods: a review of the evidence. Mayo Clin Proc. 012;87(8):791-8.