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We are all prone to toilet diseases. Men, women, literates, illiterates, young and old make use of restrooms which expose us to infections if our hygiene is nothing to write home about. Women are more prone to these infections because most of them sit on these toilet seats. Toilet diseases are the infections one can contact through the use of the toilet in a unhygienic way or through using dirty public latrines. Toilet diseases can be contacted from dirty toilet, toilet door knobs and handles, by touching toilet surfaces with fingers or not washing hands after using the toilet. They are referred to as “faeco-oral” diseases. The usage of the toilet by several people with different backgrounds, hygiene ideas and infections makes one contact toilet infections and those with poor hygiene are more susceptible to the diseases.
There are various myths (read about myths here) and wrong notions about toilet diseases. Some people believe that the sexually transmitted infections can be likened to toilet diseases that are contacted through the restroom. This is wrong because STIs cannot be transmitted from toilet use because the viruses and bacteria causing STIs cannot survive without the human body. Thus, STIs are only contracted through unprotected sexual activities (read about common STDs and STIs). People, especially the women attribute all vaginal infections and irritations to toilet diseases. They cover up their sexual escapades and consequences and hide under toilet diseases.
The use of public toilets and pit latrines in schools, markets, restaurants, supermarkets, airports, hotels, motels and in some houses predispose people more to toilet infections. Examples are the ecoli, noro virus, staphylococcus, streptococcus, shigella bacteria, gardnerella, trichhomoniasis, influenza, and all forms of microscopic germs found on toilet seats and inside the toilets/latrines. They are harmless when they do not come in contact with the mucous membrane, which is usually transferred from the hands into the mouth, ear, nose, and body.
Ecoli or Escherichia coli: is a common bacteria found in the intestine. They are contacted through the restroom seats and cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Norovirus : similar to e coli but more stubborn. They are also found on toilet/latrine seats but take time to be eradicated. They still cling on the seats even after thorough washing.
Staphylococcus: also known as “staps” are contacted through the nonporous surfaces like the toilet seats. They hang loose and have a long lifespan which is up to two months.
Streptococcus: bacteria are arranged in steps or chains and are found in the human throat. They are always contacted through the toilet seats. Symptoms include strep throats, skin rashes,
Shigella bacteria: common among those with poor hygiene( read more about personal hygiene here ) and those that do not wash their hands properly after using the toilets. It is being contacted when the faeces of the infected person touch the toilet surfaces, seats, handles and door knobs. They are also transmitted from contaminated food and water. Symptoms include dysentery, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Gardnerella : bacterial infection caused by Gardnerella vaginalis. Symptoms include fishy discharge from the vagina with less itching and irritation. Antibiotics are usually administered to treat this infection.
Trichomoniasis : caused by Trichomonas vaginalis. Symptoms include greenish or yellowish vagina discharge coupled with strong odor, penile discharge, irritation, and itching.
Influenza: Influenzas can live on any surface for three days. Bird flu and common cold can be contacted through the latrine seats and phone surfaces (for those that go to the toilet with their phones in hands),
We cannot stop using public toilets, thus, the need to maintain good toilet hygiene. Toilets generally should be neat, hygienic, well ventilated and free of agents carrying diseases. They should be washed regularly with disinfectants. Wiping the toilet seat with tissues, saliva, and water before sitting is very essential. Saliva contains enzymes capable of a fight against bacteria and virus. The hands should be washed before and after cleaning up. The toilet seats should not be sat on directly. Tissues can be laid on, if possible, public toilets should be avoided. Students in academic hostels should take caution; personal potties should be used instead of the general toilets. Water, soaps, and sanitizers should be supplied in the toilets so that people will not have the excuse of littering the restrooms with faeces and urine. Proper flushing of the toilet and seats should be done before and after using them. All this procedures helps prevent toilet diseases contraction
Toilets at different homes should be private. Visitor’s toilets should be different from the ones for family use. More toilets should be provided by the school authorities and government for the students in universities and boarding schools (read about boarding schools here) and also for populace by the government. Toilets should also be gender-based. Body contact with the toilet seats, tubs, towels and all bathroom equipment in public houses should be avoided when possible. Pit latrines and public toilets should be avoided.
Women should take caution because they are more vulnerable to toilet diseases than their male counterparts. Women are expected to clean up with tissue paper or clean water after urinating. The cleaning must be from the vagina to the anus and not vice versa. They should not sit or stand too close to a public toilet and avoid the splashing of the water in the toilet on the vagina. Vaginal lotions both herbal and modern medicinal products (read about modern medicine here) are in the market to protect the vagina against infections. They are applied to the vulva area. Frequent changes of pants help a lot to prevent toilet infections. Women should treat themselves regularly whether they have symptoms of toilet diseases or not. They can also sit on a neat bowl or potty that contains the mixture of hot water and detol. Towels exchange and the use of other people towels should be stopped. Underwears and clothes should not also be shared. The bacteria die on exposure to heat. Antibiotic creams can also be applied to the vagina and vulva areas.
The population should be educated on these diseases, its prevention, and cure. Free laboratory testing and medications should be made available so as to encourage them. Both the men and women should go for regular medical checkups and laboratory tests. Lastly, anyone infected should abstain from sexual intercourse until he or she is fully treated and declared healthy.
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