A study published in the journal ‘Nature’ warns that flushing with the toilet exposed serves to ‘expel’ viruses and bacteria up to almost seven feet (two meters) away. In many households, people leave the toilet lid up after using it. But, although few know it, there is scientific data on the dangers of keeping the top up.
Research from the University of Colorado, USA, measured the impact of flushing with the toilet lid up. The idea was to know if the coronavirus could be transmitted by aerosols generated in bathrooms with contaminated feces. They used two lasers, a toilet, and measurement and analysis chambers to carry out the study. The results surprised even the researchers themselves. They did not expect that when flushing the toilet, tiny drops would fly out and float around the bowl due to the force of the water in the cistern. Moreover, traveling at speeds of more than seven feet per second!
The largest droplets, the ones we see with the naked eye, fall quickly and close to the toilet, but the small ones remain floating in the air for several minutes. The problem is that these water droplets are contaminated with pathogens, such as E. coli or norovirus, that come from our feces and urine.
Viruses and bacteria in our bathroom can stick to walls, floors, towels, faucets, and even toothbrushes. By lowering the lid, we will not prevent the contaminated droplets from flying out, but they will remain stuck inside the top. So we must clean and disinfect this surface frequently. Other actions are ventilating the bathroom, opening a small window, or using an air extraction system.
And in public bathrooms that don’t have a lid? In this case, and if there is no choice but to use them, we can only leave the bathroom as soon as possible. Bathrooms without proper hygiene are a breeding ground for various diseases, as they can harbor germs and bacteria. Some conditions related to dirty bathrooms or without adequate hygiene include:
1️⃣ Urinary tract infections. A dirty toilet contains bacteria that cause urinary tract infections if they come into contact with the urethra.
2️⃣ Stomach flu. Lack of hygiene in a bathroom leads to fecal contamination on surfaces and the spread of bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which cause gastroenteritis and diarrhea.
3️⃣ Fungal infections. Dampness and lack of proper bathroom cleaning can encourage fungi growth, such as mold, leading to fungal infections of the skin and nails.