Nov 13, 2009
While most of us worry about contracting germs while touching public toilet seats, according to a new study at the University of Arizona, the toilet seat is the least of our worries. Research conducted by Dr. Charles Gerba revealed the following startlingly results:
– The average toilet paper dispenser has more than 150x the amount of bacteria than the average public toilet seat
– The average paper towel dispenser has more than 50x the amount of bacteria than the average public toilet seat
These factors, coupled with increased concerns for sanitary conditions due to the flu season and the H1N1 epidemic, can make using the public restroom a risky situation. However, thanks to today’s technologically, you don’t have to risk your health and safety every time you step into a public restroom.
Here’s what you can do to address this problem:
Utilize touchless or automatic dispensers
Public health experts recommend installing touchless (or automatic) dispensers wherever and whenever possible. By removing the place germs are most likely to hang out (ie the handles of the dispensers, where people touch the most), you are removing the risk factor associated with these devices. Touch free paper towel dispensers, toilet paper dispensers, faucets, and soap dispensers are well worth the added cost to keep everyone happy and healthy. Not only are they healthier, but they will actually save you money in the long run due to the controlled distribution of products.
If touchless dispensers are not available, grab your paper towels before you begin to wash your hands
This eliminates the risk of re-exposing your hands after they are freshly washed. Also, grab two extra paper towels – one to grab the faucet and one to grab the door on the way out.
Look for the Hand Sanitizer Dispensers on the way out
Thankfully, many public facilities are now placing instant hand sanitizer dispensers right out side of their restrooms. Always stop to grab some if it is available.