Using Public Restrooms During Pandemic
You love going out, but you hate always having to go to the bathroom when you are out.
Before the pandemic, having to use the bathroom often while outside the home was a major annoyance. Now with this coronavirus still spreading throughout the country, is it safe to use public restrooms?
In addition, many bathrooms are partially if not fully closed in order to protect individuals from poorly ventilated areas, or may not be cleaned as often. Other times, it may be difficult to social distance in these highly frequented areas.
Dr. Anita offers a solution to the bathroom problem and some tips on using public restrooms when on the go.
Is it safe to use public restrooms during the pandemic?
A new study sheds light on the potential dangers of public restrooms. The study, published June 15 in Physics of Fluids, found that flushing a toilet can create a cloud of aerosol droplets (called a “toilet plume”) reaching a height of almost three feet. This is an issue in relation to the new coronavirus, because those droplets may stay in the air long enough to be inhaled by the next user of the toilet, or land on surfaces in the bathroom. If the droplets contain infectious coronavirus particles, this increases the risk that the person who inhaled them could contract COVID-19.
The researchers say a single flush can drive between 40% and 60% of the aerosols into the air above the seat.
Best Solution: Reduce the Urge & Frequency to Go
Obviously the best choice when leaving the house is not using the public restroom in the first place.
The BTL Emsella treats stress and urge incontinence to reduce the need for the bathroom. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, the body is able to hold the bladder for longer periods of time, and getting rid of a problem that has plagued men and women for years.
Learn more about how Dr. Anita uses the BTL Emsella to help patients live a fuller life without fear of leaks or frequent visits to the bathroom.
Learn more from Dr. Anita’s Emsella Articles
Dr. Wang offers other tips for using the bathroom during the pandemic.
Touch as little as possible
As with other common spaces, people should touch as little as possible and with soap and water for 20 seconds.
Use a paper towel to turn the faucet off and open the door
Studies have shown those surfaces harbor fecal bacteria. Also make sure to look for touchless paper towel dispensers. Dispose of the paper towel at the nearest garbage container.
Avoid using the hot-air hand dryer
Researchers at the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University in 2018 confirmed suspicions that these hand dryers inhale bacteria from the air and deposit them on you freshly washed hands. Petri dishes exposed to bathroom air for two minutes, hand dryers off, grew no more than one colony of bacteria. Petri dishes exposed to hot hand-dryer air for 30 seconds grew up to 254 colonies of bacteria.
Wear a mask
Public restrooms are confined high-traffic spaces that no doubt will contribute to the transmission of coronavirus. But the with a sink, hot water and an automatic soap dispenser, they will also contribute to its prevention.