Risk of COVID-19 transmission in public restrooms is very low, study says

COVID-19 transmission rates continue to be a problem worldwide, even in countries with an advanced vaccination campaign. However, a new study reveals that it is at least possible to use public restrooms without worrying so much about the virus.

According to the research, published in the journal Science of Total Environment, no evidence of aerosol transmission in public restrooms was found.

One of the researchers’ concerns was the aerosolization produced when discharging, which could be a channel for the virus to spread through the air and contaminate more people. However, the study concluded that this risk was very small.

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“If you minimize your time in the bathroom, wash and dry your hands properly, and don’t use your cell phone, eat or drink, using the public restroom should be quick,” says Sotiris Vardoulakis, study leader and professor at the National University Australian.

Although the risk of transmission is low, basic hygiene measures are still fundamental (Image: Mblach/Envato Elements)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the intestinal implications of COVID-19 have been known, and that the virus can be detected in feces, making them a potential vector of transmission. However, the aerosols produced by flushing come from the person themselves, not someone else—unless you’ve found a dirty toilet and decided to flush it before using it. Except in those cases, where the ideal is to close the lid of the vessel, the aerosol transmission of the discharge is unlikely.

The study makes a distinction, however, between contamination and transmission. Although the risk of transmission is low, surfaces can be contaminated by viruses and bacteria, and require proper sanitation.

Even so, the study makes several recommendations to reduce the chances of contamination and transmission in public restrooms. Among them are automatic doors, touchless flush buttons and, as already mentioned, closing the toilet lid before flushing it.

The article is available for consultation at this link.

Source: The Guardian

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