Tag Archives: germs

Are public restrooms dangerous?

At the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s annual meeting, a study was presented by scientists who had taken samples from a variety of public restrooms. They discovered that the amount of illness-causing bacteria located in the public restrooms was too large to even measure.

According to the website Sani-Seat, a company that makes the plastic or paper toilet covers, 60 percent of Americans say they refuse to sit down on a toilet seat in a public restroom. However, experts say that the fear of sitting on the average toilet seat is exaggerated.

Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and diagnostic immunology at New York University Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City says that a huge portion of the bacteria that inhabit toilet seats are “fecal-borne bacteria,” which includes E. coli, a bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea or abdominal cramps, streptococcus, a the bacteria that causes strep throat, and S. aureus, a bacteria linked to serious skin problem and pneumonia.

“The amount of illness-causing bacteria located in the public restrooms was too large to even measure.”

However, even though these bacteria exist on the toilet seat, it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically make you sick. Your skin acts as an extremely effective barrier which keeps all those nasty germs out, unless you have an open wound on your butt.
Dr. Tierno says “If the toilet seat is dirty, don’t use it. Use common sense. In general, however, you’re unlikely to pick up anything from a toilet set.”

Germs are found in more places than just on top of a toilet seat. Lots of organisms are found on the underside of the toilet seat because it doesn’t get cleaned as often as well as the fact that when you flush you bring up the contents of the toilet. It’s not just your germs, it’s germs from other people,” says Tierno.  
According to an ABC News investigation, the places in public bathrooms with the most germs have about 2 million bacteria per square inch. They says “if you carry a purse or shoulder bag, avoid putting it down on the floor while you’re in the bathroom — hang it on the back of the door if possible.”

Dr. Tierno states that the most dangerous part of public bathrooms is picking up the germs and carrying them around with you. In order to avoid that, wash your hands with tons of soap and water after using the bathroom.

Hide yo orifices: It’s contagious

Recently, the US has been struck by the spread of a rare and severe respiratory virus, EV-D68. The illness with such a catchy name has already hospitalized several throughout the country and is making its way eastward. While this virus is no Ebola, it should give some cause for concern to students.

Illness around this time of year is pretty common, what with the weather changing rapidly (nearly on a daily basis) and students returning to a densely populated campus with many points of contact for new germs. It shouldn’t surprise any of us who have been around for a while that the student health center is usually packed by now. And all this is even before flu season. Sickness is nearly unavoidable.

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“It shouldn’t surprise any of us who have been around for a while that the student health center is usually packed by now. And all this is even before flu season.” Photo by: Sydney Crawson

So what can you do?

The CDC suggests some general and simple things to prevent illness. Avoid close contact, cover your nose and mouth, wash your hands, and basically do what your mom told you. Additionally, if you already are sick, please, please consider the rest of us and stay in your room! Its okay to miss class with a doctor’s note, right? So if you’re sick — whether it’s a cold or worse, go to the health clinic or your local care provider. Ask for a note and give it to your professor. Even presenting the paperwork from the health center after your visit will usually do the trick. Don’t believe me? Here’s a truth: your professor doesn’t want to catch it any more than your fellow students.

A get-out-of-class note isn’t the only thing offered through the Student Health Center attached to the COBE side of Moffet Hall, of course. They provide a whole list of services including flu shots, STD testing, prescriptions, almost anything your regular care provider at home could offer you. Most of these services are completely free to students, or at least ridiculously cheap.

Don’t worry too much about the line if you haven’t made an appointment (yeah, you can make an appointment), just make sure to take care of yourself when you’re sick and take care not to spread the love. Instead, take advantage of this convenient on-campus service and get better!

Preventing the college cold

College is all fun and games until someone in the dorm gets sick, then it spreads like wildfire. Dorms are notorious for spreading disease quickly. Students live so close together that it’s nearly impossible to avoid the spread of germs. If you get sick easily, it’s important to do all you can to stay healthy. Here are some things to do if you or a roommate becomes sick. Continue reading Preventing the college cold