When you go into a public toilet, do you dread sitting down? It turns out that these are not the repository for germs that we tend to think they are. In fact, in the home anyway, the toilet seat is often the most germ-free surface in the house!
Two years ago, we wrote about a study that showed that the cleaner your kitchen looks, the dirtier it actually is, since sponges harbor germs and wiping down surfaces spreads these germs around. Scientists have found that keyboards, computer mice and telephone dials contain 400 times as many germs as toilet seats.
According to this study, telephones had up to 25,127 germs per square inch, keyboards 3,295 and computer mice 1,676. The average office contains 20,961 germs per square inch. New Scientist Magazine periodically does bacteria surveys in typical homes, and always finds that the toilet seat is the most germ- free surface in the house. They think this could be because we actually “scrape off” the germs when sliding off it.
Now an update: Melissa A. Calderone writes for Popular Science that it?s useless to cover a toilet with paper, unless the seat is dry to start with, since the bacteria and viruses will come right through the damp paper an onto your skin. But she agrees that you?re unlikely to catch anything from a toilet seat unless you have open lesions on your buttocks. Most sexually-transmitted diseases cannot survive exposure to air. You could drop live AIDS virus from an airplane and it would be dead by the time it reached the ground, which is why “contrails” are probably artifacts of global warming rather than biological weaponry.
The most important thing you can do to avoid germs and flu viruses is wash your hands often, using soap and hot water. And if you wash your hands in the kitchen, use a separate towel to dry them, so that you do not transfer bacteria to your dishes.
Calderone quotes University of Arizona microbiologist Chuck Gerba as saying, “Toilet seats have been getting a bad rap.”
When you wash your hands, ask yourself: Do I have hands that heal? Echo Bodine, who has been on our show many times, can show you how to achieve the power to heal in your own life!
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