Okay – Ewe!

Angie SzumlinskiNews

Remember the good old days when mom taught you not to sit on a public toilet seat? Yep, we basically wrapped the seat in toilet paper so that there was no contact with our skin because germs lived on toilet seats. Well, mom wasn’t wrong, however a new study identified that the aerosolization of viruses from toilets during flushing raises concerns with the potential for viral contamination of restroom fomites following toilet use. Who knew? 

Viral aerosols generated during toilet flushing represent a potential route of pathogen transmission. Research has demonstrated that people with COVID-19, even those who are asymptomatic, excrete severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in fecal matter and other secretions. These viruses in droplet form and aerosols can contaminate restroom surfaces! Additionally, viral aerosols and droplet nuclei can persist for extended periods of time, can travel on air currents, and deposit on surfaces. 

Outbreaks of viruses have been associated with toilet use and contamination of restrooms might play a role in infection transmission. Add to that, even if you lower the lid (if there is a lid), the study showed there was little difference in the spread of infection. What do we do now? The one recommendation was to put a disinfectant into the bowl prior to flushing. Hmmm, difficult at best however there are disinfectant/detergent dispensers that can be placed in toilet tanks that dispense with each flush; might be an option to try? I usually end with words of wisdom, but this topic has left me speechless. Stay well and stay informed!