As America reopens, more people will be using public facilities, including restrooms. A recent study reveals toilets might be hazardous to your health if you do not follow a few simple steps.
Researchers in China discovered flushing a toilet creates an aerosol cloud that contains virus droplets that can spread indoors. They used a computer simulation to show how the coronavirus might spread if you do not close the toilet lid before flushing.
Researchers discovered the deadly virus can travel in fecal matter that escapes into the air. They call it “aerosolized feces” which is propelled into the air through what is called a toilet plume — the spread of aerosol, sometimes containing infectious fecal matter after a flush.
According to the New York Post, a study conducted by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology also discovered this dangerous transmission and recently published their results.
“Close the lid and then flush,” advises Dr. Qingyan Chen, a mechanical engineering professor from Purdue University. Chen said that closing the lid can prevent 80% of the fecal particles from escaping into the air.
According to Bustle.com, researchers at Leeds University in 2012 found germs can be hurled up to 10 inches into the air every times a toilet is flushed without closing the lid.
According to ABC News, although the coronavirus spreads mainly through respiratory avenues, virus particles have been detected in feces. The recent Chinese study was published in Physics of Fluids and showed 40% to 60% of the total number of virus particles can rise up to three feet above the ground. Researchers recommended you close the lid before flushing and clean the seat before use. It is also critical to thoroughly wash your hands.
Experts pointed out, there are no documented cases of anyone actually becoming infected from toilets, but since it is biologically possible, it is wise to take precautions.
“I do think it’s prudent to close the lid when you flush because it does expel particles that could land on common touch surfaces,” said Dr. Amesh Adajl, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “It’s also important to wash your hands after being in a public restroom and refrain from touching your face.”
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