A range of useful tips and articles from Astral Hygiene regarding all things clean and more so why not grab a cuppa, sit back and read about some of our nifty time-saving tips, we hope you enjoy! And don’t forget, please do let us know which tips and tricks you’ll be using in your business or home.
Public Bathrooms….protect yourself…..
Public Bathrooms….protect yourself…..
9th May 2022 | By Anna Armstrong
I’ve written about how sharing spaces with others means increased risk of cross contamination. So it’s no great surprise that sharing amenities such as toilet seats, toilet rolls, sinks, and taps with strangers have been linked to health risks. Here I break down the credible claims, and dispel the myths.
Within this article, I talk around what kind of infections and viruses can be caught from pubic washrooms and importantly provide ways in which you can protect yourself.
Due to the volume of people passing through public washrooms, it is a sensible conclusion to come to that these areas are as veritable hot bed for bacteria and other nasties to lurk. Clinical trials,including ones Astral Hygiene has been part of have demonstrated that there are any number of bacteria and viruses that could be lying in wait in public toilets – including streptococcus, E.coli, salmonella, typhoid fever and Hepatitis A. We have found evidence of all of these bacteria in public toilets locally.
The top bacteria hot spots would include the sink, as it is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria as it is naturally wet for prolonged periods of time. Other areas which receive frequent contact, meaning they offer high risk include – light switches, door handles, taps, dispensers, and toilet seats, which you can find out more below. If you are responsible for the maintenance of washrooms, always make sure to give these areas your utmost attention.
Another area which no one really thinks about are hand dryers. These are real breeding ground for bacteria because of the nature of the way in which they work. Maybe after reading this, you may never use a hand dryer again!
When the toilet is flushed, particularly when the lid isn’t put down, water whooshes in to the bowl stirring up the contents. The particles of bacteria then fly in to the air, and when the hand dryer is activated it sucks in that air contaminated with fecal bacteria; the bacteria is then heated up and forced out over your unsuspecting and momentarily clean hands. As the air is heated up, the bacteria breed and stick to the inside of the hand dryer which is an ideal home for bacteria - nice and warm.
Once you have washed your hands, you place them under the hand dryer, where they immediately become heavily contaminated with bacteria, and you go on your merry way.
Although most would be shocked at the amount of germs in a public washrooms, the good news is it’s actually one of the best places where you could encounter a surface contaminated by harmful bacteria. With immediate access to soap, water, and hand towels you can easily remove the contamination from your hands.
We consider some tips below which you may wish to consider, whether you’re using a washroom on a regular basis or are in charge of its maintenance.
Consider Enclosed Toilet Tissue Dispensers
As an area which receives regular contact, and may receive splashings of water and germs from the toilet bowl, research by Philip Tierno of the New York University Medical Centre recommends using dispensers which almost completely enclose the paper. The Tork SmartOne dispenseror a Bulk Pack Toilet Tissue dispenser is a good example as you only touch the sheet you use and is a tightly sealed unit with no gaps or crevices. This eliminates the need to reach inside the dispenser for the paper – an act that can cause contamination and subsequently raise the bacteria count.
Practice Good Hand Hygiene
Washing our hands after using the toilet is the most crucial aspect of protecting ourselves from germs in public washrooms. The Centers for Disease Control states that we should wash our hands with running water for 20 seconds and then drying them thoroughly after each visit to avoid becoming ill or spreading germs to others. By doing this, it is relatively unlikely that you will pick up an illness in the washroom provided you practice good hand hygiene. Unless of course you go and use the hand dryer! If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of hand dryers, check out a blog I wrote in 2020. Paper Towels vs Hand Dryers - Pros and Cons.
How do you tackle the maintenance of your public washroom? Do you practice thorough hand hygiene when using a public washroom? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Why not leave us a comment below, or send us a Tweet @Astralhygiene
This blog was written by Anna Armstrong, Director of Sales and Operations at Astral. Please get in touch if there are any particular topics you would like us to talk about on the blog!
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