Don't semi-squat on public toilets!
It is a common happening among women: Trying to balance their feet, knees and thighs, above a toilet seat, such that they do not touch it and yet, land their pee where it should. All who have mastered this art of life think that this is the way to ensure they don't get in touch with germs and bacteria that's usually floating on public toilet seats. Isn't it? Well, if you nodded your head, you are in for a surprise.
Fecal matter is indeed scary and there's no denying that. As per doctors, it contains a wide range of transmissible pathogens, which include salmonella, campylobacter, staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia coli, streptococcus, shigella and Yersinia bacteria. They also contain viruses such as noroviruses, rotavirus and hepatitis A and E, among others.
However, when it comes to public toilets, is one exposed to these transmissible pathogens from its seat? Experts say that it is very unlikely!
As a fact, intestinal diseases occur from hand-to-mouth transmission of bacteria. So, one should be more scared of many other things in public toilets, such as door handles and taps. If one is really concerned about not getting infected, the best way to go about is to not touch the door handle or knob after you have thoroughly washed your hands with soap.
You would also be surprised to know that for an average person, his thighs are much cleaner than his hands. So, instead of not sitting on a toilet seat, one should rather not shake hands with them.
Why it may rather be dangerous
Squatting isn't just not required, it also has its share of downsides over sitting on a toilet seat. First of all, it defeats the very purpose you meant to meet, that is, of hygiene. It requires an immense control to avoid drops of your pee landing on the seat, hence, making it worse for others.
Also, when you squat rather than sit and hover over the toilet seat, it puts immense pressure on your hip rotators, your back as well as your abs to keep your muscles in control. A pelvic girdle tension can make it harder for the pee to flow easily and fully. This will lead to the need for you to push it out, and frequent pushing can contribute to a pelvic organ prolapse.
Also, there's a high probability that you may not be able to empty your bowel completely when you squat. This can lead to the incidence of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Flush the right way
Instead of paying attention to the way you sit or not on a public toilet, you must heed how you flush. A 2011 study showed that when one flushes, the microbes reach and settle in a wide area, that includes the floor, toilet paper holder and toilet lid. Hence, it is ideal to flush with a closed lid and walk out as soon as you flush.
Another amazing fact, your mobiles are ten times more contaminated than a toilet seat. So, stop worrying about sitting on public toilets and rather, stop taking your phone to the loo.
In case you are still worried about the bacteria that a toilet seat may expose you to, carry antiseptic wipes with you and use them every time you use the toilet.
Also, a word of caution, if the seat is clearly soiled and you can see droplets of pee lying there, it is best not to use it, or if you have to, then squat. Squatting once in an emergency should be fine and better than sitting on someone else's pee, for sure.
Also, as a strategy, you should always use the bathroom stall that's the closest to the door. Studies show that they are the least used ones.