We're all so used to seeing those "Wash your hands before returning to work" signs in public bathrooms that we barely notice them anymore. And,
hopefully, we are all washing our hands.
Heck, if the signs didn't do the trick, the hand-washing videos should
have. Seems like nearly everyone is creating one these days.
It might be just as important to put the lid down before you flush—that is, if the toilets in your hospital have lids.
A study conducted by researchers at Leeds Teaching Hospitals in the U.K. says leaving the lid
up when you flush can send bacteria that cause diarrhea as far as 10 inches above the toilet seat.
ABCNews.com reports that the researchers found C.
difficile, which causes diarrhea and can cause life-threatening inflammation in the colon, in the air immediately after toilets were flushed. Nearly 90
minutes after flushing, the germ was still found on surrounding surfaces.
Have you ever noticed water droplets on a toilet seat? The study showed that, on average, 15 to 47 contaminated water drops land near a toilet.
The researchers discourage the use of lidless toilets, and suggest that the risk of C. difficile contamination can reach beyond hospitals, so it's a
good idea to put the lid down, even at home.
C. difficile infections have increased in recent years, but Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at
Vanderbilt University Medical Center thinks it's a trend we can turn around.
Schaffner said. "Just remember," Schaffner says. "Put the lid down before you flush and always wash your hands."
Oh, my, does that mean we'll be seeing videos featuring both hand washing and lid shutting?