Study Shows Wearing Masks & Flushing in Public Toilet Reduce COVID-19 Transmission


Our hearts jittered (in a bad way) when the news reported that coronavirus is found on frozen food packaging not long ago.

Imagine the shudder which trickled down our spines when studies showed that public toilets put people at risk to Covid-19 as well.

Image: Giphy

All hope is not lost

Hold your horses, everyone, for there’s still hope in this world.

Based on a study published in the journal, Physics of Fluids, researchers found that wearing face masks while flushing the toilet can help reduce droplets transmission from the flush to the individual.

The same thing goes for closing the toilet lid before you flush.

Here’s why there’s a risk of Covid-19 transmission in the toilet.


Basically, when you flush the toilet bowl, very small droplets actually gets bounced up into the air as aerosols.

Then, as you inhaled deeply, the aerosols get into your body.

That’s why before flushing the toilet, especially if you’re doing it to clear other people’s business, wear your mask and close the lid first.

After all, Covid-19 transmission is possible through faeces and wastewater.


How It Helps:

It might seem weird to mask up while answering the call of nature, but it does help.

When a person coughs or sneezes, the respiratory droplets travel from the person who dispels it to the environment.

If there’s someone within the one-meter distance (sometimes more) from the respiratory droplets, he/she will inhale them unknowingly into their system.

This theory also holds true when we are flushing the toilet.

Upon flushing, the aerosols will linger in the air and the person in the cubicle will inhale the droplets.

The mask thus acts as a filter.

In the event that the droplets do land, they only come into contact with your mask. So you will not be inhaling these droplets into your respiratory system.

Similarly, closing the lid before we press the flush button will prevent the aerosols from dissipating into the air, thereby helping to prevent us from inhaling the droplets.

Other ways to help keep yourself safe

Aside from the above tips, here are several others to keep yourself safe while in a public washroom:

  • Take the usual precautions that the government has been telling us, ie Wash your hands regularly. After stepping out of the cubicle, remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (About the length of two Happy Birthday songs).
Image: Giphy
  • Keep safe-distancing while queuing for cubicles.
  • If someone has used the cubicle and your turn is next, try to wait for at least one minute before entering
  • Do not linger in washrooms. The hot and juicy news you’ve been dying to tell your friend? Take that elsewhere.

If you’re still pretty creeped out by the idea of using public washrooms, perhaps the best solution is to use the one in the comforts of your own home.

Or avoid drinking too much liquid while you’re out and about.

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