Using public toilets can give you these infections

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 18, 2015

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Quick Bites

  • E.coli bacteria found on toilet surface can cause gut infection.
  • Streptococcus causes lung and skin infection.
  • Infectious bacteria and viruses in toilets can cause STDs.
  • Hygiene practices are important to prevent infections.

You are not alone when it comes to dealing with the fear of using public toilets. There are many who dread them because they are manufacturing units of germs and there is no denying the fact that not a single spot in public toilets is germ-free. The floor, the sink, the toilet seat, the doorknob, the flush handle, everywhere you see, infectious bacteria and viruses rule. And what’s worse? The harmful bacteria do not restrict themselves to the surfaces. After you flush the toilet, germs can climb up to 6 feet and stay in air for up to 2 hours.


While you have so much potential threat around you, we give you a list of diseases that you can contract from using a public.

Infections caused by public toilets

Gut infection

One of the most common bugs found in a public toilet are faecel-borne bacteria like E.coli, streptococcus, staphylococcus and shigella. An infected person’s faeces can transmit infection to the surface and cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, dysentery, etc.

Lung and skin infections

While streptococcus in public toilets can lead to contagious throat and skin infection, prolonged stay of staphylococcus on surfaces can cause pneumonia, food poisoning, etc.

Viral infections

One of the most surprising causes of cold and flu can be a public toilet. Viruses that cause common cold do not survive for a long time, but harmful viruses such as influenza, norovirus, etc. can stay for days on toilet surfaces.

Infections caused by public toilets

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Although the chances are rare, you are still likely to get an STD by using an infected toilet seat. Though very rare, infectious bacteria and viruses on toilet seat can come in contact with a break in your skin and cause an STD.

Preventive measures

Although the risk for contracting infections increases manifolds after you have used a public toilet, there are still some preventive measures that can help you keep diseases at bay. These simple hygiene practices can help you go a long way in the battle against germs. Here are some of them:


  • Use tissue paper to open washroom door.
  • Use toilet seat cover, and if there isn’t one, clean the toilet seat with a tissue paper before using it.
  • If you can’t manage to clean the seat before using it, hover closely above the toilet seat.
  • Use toilet paper to press the flush button.
  • Wash your hands properly after using the toilet.

Image source: Getty Images

Read more on Healthy Living.

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