Coronavirus UK: You could be increasing your risk every time you go to the toilet

Coronavirus passed a sobering milestone yesterday – one million deaths worldwide. With the most optimistic estimates putting the end of 2021 as a plausible deadline for vaccines and Europe currently engulfed in a second wave, governments and the general public must find sustainable ways of living with the constant threat. There are sensible steps we can all take to mitigate the threat and we should be implementing them.

Conversely, you may be putting yourself in harm’s way without realising.

New research from Initial Washroom Hygiene has revealed that less than half (49 percent) of Brits wear face coverings when visiting public washrooms, despite concerns about the spread of Coronavirus.

What’s even more puzzling, the majority of Brits (51 percent) think they could potentially catch Coronavirus from visiting a public washroom, the research found.

Two-thirds (66 percent) also said they wanted more bins in washrooms so they can properly dispose of single-use items such as gloves, face masks and tissues.

Why should you wear a face mask in public toilets?

Speaking to the, Jamie Woodhall UK Technical & Innovation Manager, Initial Washroom Hygiene, said: “Public washrooms contain many shared touch points and hard surfaces on which Coronavirus can survive.

“They are also a place where social distancing can be difficult to maintain and as such, the government suggests a face covering should be worn.

“Wearing a face covering when visiting the washroom is as much about protecting other members of the community as it is yourself.”

As he explained, face coverings help to reduce the risk of respiratory droplets landing on surfaces and common touch points, and therefore reduce the risk of Coronavirus spreading.

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What does Woodhall recommend?

“We recommend that people follow government recommendations and wear face coverings in public washrooms where social distancing is not always possible, and suggest that effective hand washing and hand drying practices should be followed by washroom users, with clear signage in all washrooms to encourage proper hand hygiene and social distancing.”

Woodhall acknowledges the challenge some of these policy prescriptions may seem in an environment that constantly shifting.

He said: “With guidance and best practice surrounding coronavirus constantly evolving, it can be challenging for businesses to know how to provide the safest washroom experience for customers.”

Other important tips

It’s very important to do what you can to reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus.

The NHS recommends the following:

  • Try to stay at least two metres (three steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
  • The health body also says to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • UK government health advice has made it mandatory to wear a face mask in the following places:
  • On public transport
  • In shops
  • When you go to hospital appointments or visit someone in hospital.

I am worried I have coronavirus – what should I do?

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get a test as soon as possible, advises the NHS.

You should also stay at home until you get the result, says the health body.

“Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result,” it adds.

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

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