General Question

rooeytoo's avatar

Exactly what diseases can you catch from a toilet seat?

Asked by rooeytoo (26880 points ) October 29th, 2009

I know the old excuse about I caught it from a strange toilet seat but in actual fact, can you really catch anything bad from a public toilet? They are often yucky looking but are they truly dangerous from a health standpoint?

Sometimes the hover method can be very tiring!

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23 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

your keyboard is much more germ ridden than your toilet seat.

knitfroggy's avatar

Apparently you shouldn’t worry so much about the toilet seat and focus your attention on your steering wheel. Gross!

gemiwing's avatar

You “could’’ but you’re much more likely to catch things from other places. Most truly bad things need a blood/fluid transfer- so unless you’re using the toilet in a new and novel way, you’ll be fine.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I think worrying about the different ways taking a twosie could kill me is something that’s highly undesired and unneeded for my survival.

wildpotato's avatar

Crabs, is what I’ve heard. But I’m not sure how much sense that makes.

Fernspider's avatar

@uberbatman * shudder * LOL

rooeytoo's avatar

@uberbatman I’ve heard that before about keyboards but I am the only one who uses my laptop and I am pretty good about washing my hands so I am not too worried about it.

@gemiwing – that is what I have always figured but you hear it said so often and most toilets (not here but in USA) have those paper seat covers, so it did make me wonder.

I am relieved to hear all this, as I said sometimes the hover can become tiresome, especially if you’re reading a really good book!

Now that’s another one, I bet those bathroom books have some nasties on them. I remember that Seinfeld episode.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@rooeytoo the main point is, that our hands are the dirtiest most germ ridden parts of our bodies. It makes sense if you think about it, how many things do you touch within a day. And sure maybe your good with washing your hands, but that says nothing about the other guy. Where as your ass, the part that touches the toilet seat spends its day tucked away in our pants. (generally ;) Not being exposed to all the germs of the world.

rooeytoo's avatar

@uberbatman – when I look at it that way, I see what you mean, my butt rarely ever, well actually I would say never touches my food. So now instead of toilet seats I should worry about everything I touch with my hands.

You know what really grosses me out – sticky handles on grocery carts. I read where somewhere they are sterilizing them when they are returned to the store. That would be a great idea.

JLeslie's avatar

Catching something from a toilet seat is so unlikely. If it were bunches of 5 year old girls would be walking around with vaginal infections. It’s difficult not to sit when you are so little. It has been said that crabs and Trichomoniasis can be caught from a toilet seat, but everyone I know that has had these problems can link it to a sex partner.

JLeslie's avatar

@rooeytoo the grocery stores around here have wipes you can use to wipe of the handle of the cart and your hands before you start shopping. BUT, one of the stores I go to uses the cart of the person in front of you to place your bagged groceries in at check out. Last week the person in front of me was a drooling 2 year old…I didn’t think it through when I got on line, so I would up with that cart in the end.

And, the seat covers really became big during the AIDS discovery of the 80’s. They, the manufacturers of these things, saw it as a way to make money. Its more about perception than really being necessary I think.

ccrow's avatar

It’s easy enough, anyway, to make a cover of sorts with strips of TP. (I always wipe the seat down, then cover it.) I had read somewhere that as long as you don’t have an open sore/wound that there’s not much to worry about. I think they say you could get crabs because they are actual little critters who can get on you, as opposed to germs that are just ‘there’.

rooeytoo's avatar

@JLeslie – Thank you, that is what I figured.

@ccrow – I always seem to be in a rush so it is an annoyance to make the seat cover out of strips. I try to carry wipes but often forget. You are good to go to all that trouble!

mattbrowne's avatar

If you don’t touch the seat with your hands and don’t touch your face with your hands you’re reasonably safe. Doorknobs and kitchen rags contain far more germs.

JLeslie's avatar

@JLeslie I know someone who was considering investing with a company that makes the plastic covers that are on some toilet seats back in the 80’s. Their main sales pitch was the HIV scare.

Even though I don’t worry much about catching something from a toilet seat, in the last 20 years people sit down less and pee is frikkin’ everywhere! If everyone was sitting down it would probably be better. So I, like someone mentioned above, do wipe off the seat and then put some TP down before I sit. The biggest annoyance is while you are trying to set up the whole thing the frikkin’ (I’m big on that word today) automatic flusher sometimes flushes and sprays up water from the toilet bowl and you have to start all over. Worse is when you are mid pee or mid number bm and the thing starts flushing and spraying water up. Does that piss off anyone else?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@JLeslie or when you reach for a piece of frikkin’ toilet paper and it flushes on you. eghhhh

JLeslie's avatar

My recent post should be @rooeytoo not myself. Not sure how I made that mistake.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I heard that also about crabs and trich being potentially passable via toilet seat. What about hepatitis or herpes or something? I’m way more worried about the “forever” illnesses.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m not sure how long herpes lives off the body, seems possible maybe? Hepatitis would have to get in through a cut if it is hep b or c. Hep a is possible if you touch something that has it on the surface and then put your fingers in your mouth or eat food with your hands. So, wash your hands. Hep a is still pretty rare in the US. Every so often you hear of a bunch of people getting it from a specific restaurant. I think we are seeing more of it in states like TX and California, but from what I understand that is in minority populations more often, I am not really sure of the actual statistics. You only have to worry about hep a if someone else has ep a, its not like ecoli that is always present.

inkvisitor's avatar

You don’t know who was there, what they did, when it was cleaned, or how well.

Just say no to sitting on public toilet seats!

rooeytoo's avatar

I was just starting to feel better about sitting, now there are a whole fresh batch of scary things. I don’t think Herpes is a worry, I think it dies too quickly without a host.

What is the real answer? @mattbrowne says its not too worrisome and he is usually right about this sort of thing.

@JLeslie not too many auto flushers in the NT, heheheh, so not too big a frikkin’ worry here, non-flushing users are more prevalent here, wish there were more of the Auto flushers!

JLeslie's avatar

@rooeytoo I hate when people don’t flush! I don’t even understand it. Hopefully Shilolo will show up and post an answer.

mattbrowne's avatar

@rooeytoo – Thanks for that. It’s really more dangerous to use someone else’s computer keyboard (for example in a public library) than sitting on a public toilet seat. Why? You don’t wash your hands every time you hit a key. Then your fingers touch your mouth or your nose. You don’t even notice doing it. When you leave a (public) restroom you wash your hands properly killing almost all germs.

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