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7 Tips for Using Public Restrooms Safely

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, September 4, 2020

A public restroom is probably the last place you want to be during a pandemic. But when nature calls, we all must answer. Luckily, most stores and other businesses are taking special care with cleaning at this time, so restrooms might not be as threatening as we imagine. Still, it makes sense to take precautions to avoid coming into contact with germs.

Spritz the stall. Toilets in public restrooms flush vigorously, sending up a plume of droplets (and germs) into the air. Since stalls are self-contained, using the restroom after someone else has flushed could put you at risk of inhaling infected air.

Some people have chosen to carry disinfectant with them during this time. If you fall into that category, spritzing the stall with Lysol or another approved disinfectant, then waiting a few moments before entering, could help you to avoid germs.

Don’t linger. Up to three-fourths of us tend to use a smartphone while on the toilet. Save that habit for your home bathroom. Lingering in public restrooms only extends the time you spend exposed to any potentially lurking germs.

Flush and rush. If you can, exit the stall quickly after flushing the toilet, to avoid unnecessary exposure to the toilet plume.

Clean your hands… twice. After washing your hands, applying a layer of hand sanitizer can offer extra protection.

Avoid the air dryer. Use a paper towel to dry your hands, rather than air dryers. Dryers suck air from the restroom and blow it all over your hands, potentially exposing you to anything lurking in that environment.

You might wish to carry a few paper towels or restaurant napkins for this purpose.

Use a paper towel to open the door. Avoid touching door handles and other surfaces that others may have touched. Use your paper towel for this task instead, then dispose of it immediately afterward.

And of course… don’t touch your face. Many illnesses are transmitted when we touch infected objects and then transfer germs to our eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid touching your face any time you’re in public, but especially after using the restroom or other high-traffic areas.

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