What can you catch from using public toilets?

Not all public toilets are appealing, but there are reasons you shouldn't just hold on.

It’s something many of us have a phobia about; the germs you can catch from a public toilet.

In fact some would rather hold on tight than even use a public toilet, rather waiting until you get home to tinkle.

However, that’s not a good idea. Instead, that habit could have you presenting at the doctor with a urine infection that has nothing to do with public toilets and everything to do with not emptying your bladder completely. This can even happen if you do use public toilets but are in a rush, trying to get out quickly or are squatting over the toilet and don’t allow your body time to do the job.

Dr Preethi Daniel, a GP in Hertfordshire and Clinical Director at London Doctors Clinic has shared her tips for using public toilets and busts a few myths too, in an article by Healthista.

She says it’s a myth you can catch sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis from public loos. “To contract these diseases the germs would have to be directly transferred from the toilet seat to your genital tract, or through an open wound or sore on your legs or buttocks,”Dr Preethi Daniel says. “You are more likely to be struck by lightning whilst riding a flying pig than catching a sexually transmitted disease from a public toilet seat, so please don’t worry.”

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She said there’s even less of a chance of catching a cold, as these germs don’t hand around cold, hard surfaces, but you could get bugs such as E-coli or Salmonella, so make sure to wash your hands.

Her tips for using public toilets

1. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet

2. Carry a travel size antibacterial hand sanitizer for extra protection

3. Cover the toilet seat with toilet paper or use antibacterial wipes

She offers one final piece of advice. Keep those handbags off the floor. “There are more germs on the floor of a public toilet than the toilet seat itself, so just keep your contact with the floor minimal and you will survive the emergency use of a public toilet.”

Do you avoid using public toilets?