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Germs On A Toilet Seat - Do They Actually Affect You?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Anil Mehta 92% (679 ratings)
MBBS, DNB (General Medicine)
General Physician, Delhi  •  25 years experience
Germs On A Toilet Seat - Do They Actually Affect You?

One may never know when he or she might need to use a public toilet. And whenever it comes to using a toilet that is used by so many different people, the question regarding the presence of germs on the toilet seat is bound to arise. Often, the toilet seats in a public toilet are associated with being the biggest source of germs in the restrooms. Read on to know the actual relevance of germs being on the toilet seats and whether they can affect one’s health or not.

Common germs on the toilet seats
The chance of having sexually transmitted viruses such as genital herpes or bacteria such as chlamydia from the toilet seats is really low, as these microbes tend to die just as they come in contact with a cold surface, such as the toilet seats. However, there are few other bacteria present, that one can pick up from a toilet seat easily. To name some of the common germs that one can get affected with from toilet seats are, the fecal borne E. Coli bacteria, Shigella bacteria, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and influenza.

The serious health threats that germs pose
Though the chances of developing serious health conditions as a result of using toilet seats are lesser, it doesn't mean that there is no risk of illnesses. For example, while the majority influenza virus can live for only 2 or 3 days on a non-porous surface, such as the toilet seats, some virus strains can actually survive longer and may affect one with common cold or flu.

  • Escherichia coli is another very common bacteria found on the toilet seats that can make you suffer from diarrhea and other types of stomach distress when transmitted.
  • Bacteria like Staphylococcus can contaminate non-porous surfaces for more than two months. Spending 3 minutes on a toilet seat contaminated with this bacterium can lead to skin rash or skin infections. Also, bacteria like Shigella can affect one by causing shigellosis infections with abdominal pain, dysentery, etc.

The best way to deal with toilet seat germs
The chances of being affected by bacteria are certainly lesser when using a cleaner toilet seat than that of a dirty one. Plus, after using the toilet seat, one needs to wash their hands properly to avoid the chance of bacterial infection as much as possible. Unless one washes his hands, it is advised to not to touch the mouth, eyes, nose, or other sensitive areas and any food items with the hands. Carrying antibacterial alcohol wipes can be helpful too.

Prevention is always better than cure. Thus, one needs to be alert when using a toilet. After all, even the cleanest looking toilet seat may be a home to various illness causing bacteria invisible to normal eyes. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.

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