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Doctor reveals risk of catching diseases from public toilets - and how to avoid it

Mirror logo Mirror 22/10/2017 Zahra Mulroy
a white toilet sitting in a bathroom: Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty

Everyone's been forced to use a public toilet which was an unofficial entrance into the seventh layer of hell.

Whether it was the unsavoury smells assaulting you, the dodgy spillages on the floor and toilet seat, the sandpaper-like loo roll - or a total absence of loo roll - relaxing oases of hygiene they are not.

Sometimes you even have to pay a premium to hover over a blocked toilet while holding your breath.

Given how grim these places are and the amount of footfall they get, it's easy to sometimes worry about the effect public toilets may have on our health.

Specifically, the potential of catching or picking up nasties.

What we should be asking, however, is how vulnerable are we to contracting diseases from public toilets? 

a bathroom with a white background: Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty

Yes, public toilets are used by countless strangers with differing attitudes towards hand-washing and general hygiene and NHS physician, Dr Preethi Daniel has both some good and bad news.

"To contract a disease such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis," she tells Healthista , "the germs would have to be directly transferred from the seat to your genital tract, or through an open wound or sore on your legs or buttocks." 

a bathroom with a tile floor © Getty

In fact, "You are more likely to be struck by lightning whilst riding a flying pig than catching a sexually transmitted disease from a public toilet seat, so please don't worry."

The bad news is there ARE things you can catch.

Bugs such as E-coli and Salmonella CAN be picked up from public toilets.

Credits: Getty Images © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty Images

To help avoid these, Dr Daniel has given three sterling pieces of advice for avoiding infections from public bathrooms.

-Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet

-Carry a travel size antibacterial hand sanitiser for extra protection

-Cover the toilet seat with toilet paper or use antibacterial wipes before sitting

In addition to her hygiene tips, Dr Daniel is keen to stress that "there is no medical evidence to support the transmission of any diseases from a public toilet."

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