Heard It All?

Angie SzumlinskiNews

Just when I thought I had heard it all, I come across an article titled, “Toilet Seat Dermatitis Making a Comeback.” Really? I never knew it existed in the first place! According to the article, toilet seat dermatitis is one of those legendary conditions described in medical textbooks and seen in underdeveloped countries and is more common in young children. The condition causes skin irritation around the buttocks and upper thighs and can persist and lead to painful and itchy skin eruptions.  

Apparently, the resurgence of “exotic wooden toilet seats” and harsh chemical cleaners may be the cause. Once thought to be “wiped out” (no pun intended), we are seeing an increase in cases today.  

So, what are we to do to avoid having this condition? 

  • Use toilet seat covers in public restrooms, including hospital and school bathrooms 
  • Replace wooden toilet seats with plastic seats 
  • Avoid harsh cleaners 

My guess is that the majority of our centers use plastic toilet seats and bathrooms are either private or semi-private, but we should still provide seat covers for shared bathrooms. What about those beautiful “spas” we see in many of our newer centers? You know, the nice wooden seat that is shared by multiple residents every week? How are we cleaning these seats and/or should we replace them with a plastic one? Might be worth a discussion with your environmental staff, “how are you cleaning these wooden seats?” Or are direct care staff spraying them with your “usual” cleaner and wiping them down? If you get a deer in the headlights stare when you ask your staff, you might have a bigger issue! Take the time to evaluate your current “seating” and be sure it can be sanitized safely after each use. Thanks for all you do, stay informed and stay well!