Sunday, 1 March 2009

3 Serious Concerns About Hygiene in Public Restrooms Revealed in Survey

In a study by Kimberly-Clark Professional, 39% of survey 
respondents feared picking up germs in a public restroom more 
than any other place. Is there good reason for the fear or are 
people overly concerned? Can you reduce the risks? 


Without getting too specific, there are many germs that can 
thrive in restrooms. Bacteria live off of moisture and organic 
food (or waste)- which can be plentiful in public restrooms. 

Fears of contacting STD's (sexually transmitted diseases) from a 
public washroom have more to do with the fear of the disease than 
the likelihood of picking it up in a washroom. Many of these 
bacteria and viruses do not live long enough outside the body to 
be easily transmitted. However, some experts admit there is a 
theoretical risk of herpes or crabs being contracted under 
certain - but unlikely - conditions. Some public facilities 
provide flushable toilet seat covers, antibacterial cleansers or 
you can line the seat with toilet paper. 

Of greater concern are salmonella and shigella bacteria which can 
be transferred by contact with feces. The infected person can 
transmit the bacteria on their hands which can then be 
transferred to flushing handles, door handles and faucets. 


Foul odors, lack of supplies and puddles on the floors can all be 
signs of improper maintenance. 

Odor that comes from public washrooms can be caused by urine in 
tile grouting. If the floors aren't properly cleaned daily (or 
more) then the uric acid salts will not be removed with regular 
cleansers. These salts provide a food source for bacteria whose 
digestive processes give off the foul odor. 

Products like MicroGuard (tm) from AllDura and even stainless 
steel can reduce the maintenance required to keep bacteria growth 
to a minimum. 

A lack of supplies (toilet paper, hand drying towels or soap) can 
also increase the unhygienic conditions of a restroom. Overly 
crowded restrooms can suffer from a lack of supplies or a lack of 
available sinks, soap dispensers or dryers. 


It is the simple truth that hand washing will drastically cut the 
chance for germ transference. A study done by Scott Papers found 
that more than nine out of ten respondents claimed to wash their 
hands when using public restrooms. However, only 67% were 
actually observed doing so. 

As manufacturers of paper products, including towels, the company 
also states that drying hands thoroughly is imperative in 
practicing proper hygiene. The moisture left on hands can still 
carry bacteria. Because of this, air drying machines may not be 
enough protection since many individuals do not use them long 
enough to thoroughly dry their hands. 

The knowledge that proper washing and drying can protect you from 
even unsavory public restrooms is comforting. The fact that 
public washrooms still need to provide the basics for good 
hygiene, as well as good maintenance is something that needs 
work. Carrying an antibacterial gel for emergency use is 
recommended when visiting a public area. 

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes 
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any 
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any 
health care program. 

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