toilet lid bacteria

Close the Lid When You Flush or Risk Disease, Experts Say

This is one of those things that you should read, file back in your head and not think too much directly upon.

Researchers say that putting the lid down when you flush the toilet is a great way to prevent disease, and that increased sickness can be directly linked to the spread of a nasty fecal bacteria, C. difficile, that is- oh, ew ew ew- sprayed around when toilets are flushed without a lid. Barf. (This all should really help you stick with your New Year’s resolutions as well as keeping your bathroom sink free of toothbrush clutter.)

The link isn’t news- even Mythbusters explored and originally basically debunked the fecal-matter-all-the-hell-over-your-Sonicare concept- but a report in January’s Journal of Hospital Infection gives new credence to the old fears. Essentially, it boils down to risk posed- we knew that there was fecal bacteria getting on pretty much everything, including toothbrushes, but it was previously thought that the risk posed was not very substantial- so, there’s poop on your floss but it won’t get you sick.

Now researchers are saying that there is a risk, particularly from the toilets seen in public spaces without lids, of contracting C. difficle from lidless flushing. The bacteria causes diarrhea and can be life-threatening if the colon becomes inflamed, and spread can be contained by taking precautions. Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Dr. William Schaffner has this advice for the squeamish:

“Almost everywhere we go, except in some public spaces, we have lids on our commodes. But not everyone puts them down when they flush. Doing so will reduce this type of environmental contamination very substantially… Just remember: put the lid down before you flush and always wash your hands.”

Do you keep your toothbrushes stashed away and always put the lid down?

[Image: Shutterstock]