LIVING HEALTHY – DR. ROBIN MILLER-My husband runs every day with a regular jogging group.  Often in the course of their runs they have a need for a port-a-potty. One day after they finished, the guys in the group were laughing about how one of the women used the outdoor facility and they could hear her putting down the paper toilet seat cover. They thought that was hilarious. That made me start to wonder, do paper toilet seat covers actually protect us from anything?

Looking at what type of research is out there, I found that there is nothing to protect against.  The toilet seat is relatively safe. The places that have the most bacteria in a public bathroom include the floor, the faucet handles and the flusher handle. Interestingly the hot air hand dryers use bathroom air to blow your hands dry. The air contains bathroom bacteria.

If you are worried and wondering how to stay relatively germ free in a public restroom most importantly wash your hands well and use paper towels to dry them. Keep your purse off the floor and if you are worried wipe down the faucet handles.  You can use your foot to flush the toilet.

Most people are worried about catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from the toilet seat.  However, the organisms that cause these infections do not live long enough to cause a problem. The only way to get an STI on a toilet seat is to have sex with an infected person on it.  So don’t do it!

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