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Index to Cleaning Toilets

The Common Cold


Most people are aware that they can catch a cold by shaking the hand of someone who has a cold or by being in close proximity to that person, but there are many other means of transferring the cold germs. According to Health & Nutrition magazine, cold and flu viruses such as rhinovirus and influenza viruses can be deposited on toilet flush handles, public washroom stall handles and water faucet handles. These are more likely routes of germ transmission than the toilet seat itself. Other frequently contaminated objects are door handles, telephones, pens and TV remote controls.

In a recent study done by a team of researchers at the University of Virginia Health System, it was found that common cold germs can survive for at least one day or in some cases severals days on the hard surfaces of a room. Results of the study were presented at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology on 29 September 2006 in San Francisco, CA.

Using hotel rooms for their experiment the researchers recruited 15 adults who exhibited symptoms of rhinovirus infection. These people sent five hours in their rooms before going to sleep and two hours of activity in the room before checking out. Room service was used for meals and no other persons entered the rooms.

In the morning, the researchers asked the recruits to point out the various objects that they touched or handled. Of the 150 sites that were pointed out, 52 had virus on them, which is 35%. Just because there is virus on a surface, doesn't mean that you are going to be infected with it. According to Dr. Owen Hendley, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia Health System, who led the study, in order to get infected with the rhinovirus which causes essentially half of the colds in adults and children, you have to get the virus on your fingertip and then touch your nose or eyes.

Commonly touched surfaces should be disinfected routinely with a disinfectant.

How to Wash Your Hands

Healthcare specialists generally cite handwashing as the single most effective way to prevent the transmission of disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says, "The most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash you hands." Not only common diseases like colds, but more serious diseases like hepatitis A, meningitis, and infectious diarrhea can be prevented by judicious hand washing.

Is there a right and wrong way to wash your hands?
Yes, and it only takes a few seconds to do it right.

* Wet your hands using warm (not hot) water and apply soap to kill germs.

* Rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces.

* Continue to rub and scrub for 10 to 15 seconds (about the length of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday").

* Rinse well and dry your hands on a paper towel or clean cloth towel.

* Turn off the water using the towel to avoid a recontamination of your clean hands and you can use the same towel to open the door, especially in public places. Door handles are great carriers of germs.

* That's all there is to it. Follow these simple steps and repeat often, particularly:

* Before, during, and after you prepare food.

* Before you eat, and after you use the bathroom.

* After handling animals or animal waste.

* When your hands are dirty.

* Every time you sneeze or cough.

* When someone in your home is sick.

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