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Bathroom - June 24, 2020

What to Do When You Need to Use a Public Bathroom During a Pandemic – The New York Times

It can feel as though you’re running an infectious gantlet when using a public bathroom, especially following last week’s news of toilet plume, that cloud of aerosol droplets that can rise nearly three feet and linger long enough to be inhaled by the toilet’s next user, or land on other surfaces of the bathroom. And, in a way, you are.

So what to do, especially now that many of us are starting to leave home a little more? Should we avoid shared restrooms — in parks, malls or recently reopened restaurants — like, well, the plague?

As an obstetrician and gynecologist, I spend a lot of time dispelling the myth that you can catch a sexually transmitted infection from a shared toilet seat (because you can’t, not even herpes, which is the most commonly believed myth). But what about the coronavirus?

We know they can be infectious by touch. We wipe and potentially contaminate everything we touch with microbes that come from stool, like norovirus and E. coli, before our hands get washed.

Bathrooms can also be infectious by air. With some respiratory viruses, like influenza, if enough infectious particles are airborne, breathing a previously shared airspace can pose a hazard. The best example is measles. If someone with measles enters a room, the air
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