Here's an article I'm reprinting instead of just sending the link, simply because it's written in a style that I appreciate.
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/int ... itis/69400
Author: Robin Flinchum
Published on: May 17, 2001
O.K., I believe I promised you an article about what you can and can not expect from your average public toilet seat. As someone who spends a large amount of time in public restrooms, it became an issue of great concern for me. Probably the thing I hate most about using a public toilet is rushing into the stall in a state of near panic, bladder cramping horribly, and noticing (hopefully before I actually sit down) that there is pee, or even worse–poop, on the seat. Now, I ask you, as I have frequently asked myself and everyone else I know; how does a person relieve themselves ON the seat? I don’t, really, understand the logistics of this, but mainly I can tell you that it is a direct result of an irrational fear of toilet seats, probably implanted by a neurotic parent when the sufferer was but a child.
Here’s how it happens: Forced to stop at a grimy gas station because a small child is screaming to use the bathroom, one of the parents cautions; ‘Don’t sit on the seat, you don’t know what kind of diseases you can catch!’ And there, the damage is done. From then on the child has a bathroom dysfunction that causes him or her (mostly hers) to do all sorts of bizarre balancing acts while they attempt to relieve themselves in the toilet bowl without actually sitting on the toilet seat. Paper covers do little to alleviate this problem, since they are not always available, take too much time, make too much noise, and are prone to getting tucked into the back of your underpants.
The obvious result is that quite often these people do not hit the bowl, leaving the rest of us to come along behind them and contend with the dirty toilet seat. The irony of this is that if people stopped messing ON the toilet seats in the first place, the likelihood of EVER catching ANYTHING from a toilet seat is extremely small. Probably the biggest thing you ever have to worry about from a toilet seat is the transmission of diseases like cholera and hepatitis that can be passed through direct contact with infected feces. If, however, the feces goes directly into the bowl and is then flushed away, then we have nothing to worry about. It is only when the infected person is falling all over the bowl in an attempt to avoid catching some phantom unknown pathogen that disease is truly likely to be spread.
According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta it IS NOT POSSIBLE to contract sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea or chlamydia from a toilet seat. The chances of catching AIDS are basically non-existent (unless, say, someone with AIDS bled on the seat and then you came along, didn’t notice the blood, had an open sore in an area that just happened to connect with the spot of infected blood before the blood dried completely and the virus died, yeah right). Crabs, also known as pubic lice, can theoretically be picked up from a toilet seat, but again the chances of that are incredibly slim. You would be more likely to pick up pubic lice from using a towel an infected person had just used. Lice tend to stay embedded in the warm, dark areas where they thrive. Bodily contact spreads lice easily because the parasite transfers from one friendly environment to another. Jumping from a friendly environment onto a cold toilet seat is pretty unlikely (this is why they are so hard to get rid of if you ever DO get them).
In other words, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Making contact with urine, while extremely unpleasant, especially when it is not your own, does not expose you to disease of any kind. In fact, urine is used in some parts of the world as a disinfectant and is thought to have antibiotic properties. Some people believe in drinking their urine and report definite health benefits. Now, I am not suggesting that you drink your urine, only that you follow this simple advice when visiting a public toilet:
1. Check the seat. If there are feces present, find another stall. If that’s not an option, cover the feces with a good layer of paper towels. Don’t try to clean it off–never get your hands in anyone else’s poop, unless it’s your own kids and then, well, nobody else is gonna do it...
2. If there are a few drops of urine, or nothing at all, get a wad of toilet paper, enough to absorb but not soak through to your fingers, and wipe the seat all the way around. Now you have wiped away any wet spots, any lingering pubic lice, and all phantom diseases.
3. If you do happen to see blood on a toilet seat (this irritates me most of all–how hard could it be to control this?), do your best to avoid it entirely. If you have no other options, use a good layer of paper towels and a seat cover if one is available. If you find a restroom with a dirty seat and no paper towels or seat covers, demand supplies from the management. If, in a situation like an outdoor park toilet, there is no one to ask for help, consider finding a place outside to pee (carry your toilet paper away with you and never poop on the ground in a public park unless you can burry it sufficiently to be sure that you have protected everyone in a five mile radius from any dangerous bacteria you might be carrying).
Now, you can sit on the seat and set your mind at ease. And then, when I come along behind you, I can sit on the seat, too. Together we can wipe out this public toilet nuisance!
Until next time, I remain your sister in dysfunctional bladder solidarity.
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