Some people have developed an inner drama, a confrontation of giant proportions takes place inside their minds when they are impelled to use a public restroom. A nightmarish vision of bacteria, viruses, filth, disease and uncleanness gets a hold on them.
Well, actually, an elevator could be more dangerous than a public restroom, because most public washrooms are well ventilated and offer more space, while airborne viruses prefer small, poorly-ventilated spaces like elevators.
You could pick up some virus or bacteria in your short trip to the toilet, but they won’t be as aggressive as you think. If it gets to you, you’ll probably have the stomach flu.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to cover the seat. There’s a chance the drug-resistant bacteria could be transmitted by skin. Although there haven’t been any particular cases showing that caution is never in vain.
It’s also safer to flush the toilet before using it, as stagnant water is a good environment for multiplying bacteria, and you don’t want to disturb the surface of a bacteria nursery.
Faucet handles are swarming with bacteria, that is also true, and it may scare you away, but washing your hands properly can eliminate 95% of it, no matter if you’re using soap or sanitizer.
All you have to do is follow the right steps: rub your hands to produce enough lather, clean the back of your hands, your nails and the skin between your fingers, then rinse off with plenty of water. Use towels to dry off, turn off the tap, and grab the door handle.
Some believe that touching anything in a public restroom is going to infect them, so they use their feet to do almost anything while they are inside. There are all sorts of suspects, from Staphylococcus, E.coli and hepatitis A to chlamydia or gonorrhea.
But the truth is our immune system can handle most of the dangers encountered, especially if we use hygiene measures, while the germs we fear can only survive for a short time in the outside environment. So instead of hazardously using your feet, just grab some toilet paper to use it as a barrier between you and the dirty handles.
If you want to further minimize the risk of picking up undesirable organisms, try using the first stall. Most of the people go into the middle or back stalls for more privacy, so there’s a chance the first one is a bit cleaner than the rest.
It would be even wiser to avoid placing your things on the bathroom floor because that is probably the least clean surface in the restroom.
Bottom line, there is a genuine reason for concern, but we can safely use the restrooms and avoid paranoia by simply paying attention to basic hygiene and handling things carefully.