Tue, Feb 07, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Flush public toilets before use to avoid infections: doctor

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter

Public toilets should be flushed before use to minimize risks of infection, Taichung-based urologist Liu Wei-yang (劉緯陽) said.

Liu, a doctor at the Ren Ai Hospital, was quoted by the Chinese-language Apple Daily on Tuesday last week as saying that using public restrooms can lead to rashes or urinary infections, because stray droplets from the flush of an unclean toilet are a vector.

In some cases, droplets carrying contaminants from a dirty toilet can cause diseases that are normally transmitted by sexual intercourse, Liu said.

Liu urged people to flush public toilets before use to remove any excrement left from the previous user and to determine if there is an obstruction with the plumbing, adding that prior flushing greatly reduces the health risks of using a public facility.

Sanitary wipes and sprays can be used to clean toilet seats, Liu said, adding that people should wait for the sanitizing agent to evaporate so that it can effectively reduce the amount of bacteria on the surface.

Covering the seat with toilet paper or disposable toilet covers might exacerbate health risks if users flush the toilet while remaining seated because wet paper increases the contact area, Liu said, adding that people should stand up before flushing if such methods are used.

People should not crouch on toilet seats in a bid to prevent infection, Liu said.

In addition to the danger of ceramic cisterns shattering, crouching on toilet seats puts unnecessary stress on the body that might result in incomplete urinary discharge, leading to an increased risk of urinary tract infection, he said.

Flushing the toilet before and after using it, as well as washing hands afterward can eliminate infection vectors, Liu said.

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