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Prevent the Stomach Flu: Close the Toilet Lid

Posted Jan 03 2012 12:00am
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A toilet with the potentially dangerous arrang...

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I have friends that always keep their toilet lids closed. I assumed it was just a feng shui sort of thing, but there may be more of a health reason to do so than simply preserving your energy.  According to Lucky Feng Shui for Life :

Explain and ask all your family members to do the same. It’s a very good manner to learn anyway and your kids might thank you later. Each time you flush your toilet, a relatively large amount of water as well as chi of your house rushes out. If you keep your toilet lid down you help to retain valuable energy in your home and in your life.

Yet another Feng Shui site gets to the root of why doctors are recommending toilet lids should be closed.   Feng Shui Advantage explains:

The reason you want to close your toilet lid BEFORE flushing… is to keep the germs in the bowl. Did you know… when you flush your toilet with the lid up the germs travel 6 feet in every direction from your toilet bowl? Are the towels you dry your hands and face with that close to your toilet? How about your toothbrush?

On the TV show “How Clean is Your House” they’ve sent several people’s toothbrushes to the lab for testing to show how many and what kinds of germs are on them. In every case, fecal matter was among the bacteria that showed up on the toothbrushes.

It’s not just fecal matter that is being spread by open flushing, but viruses and bacteria that make us sick are also being dispersed.   The Daily Mail reports:

Professor Mark Wilcox, Clinical Director of Microbiology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said leaving the lid up can allow a cloud of bacteria to explode into the air, settling on nearby surfaces…

‘It is very clear from our work that the lid is there for a reason,’ Professor Wilcox told Mail Online.

Professor Wilcox and colleagues from Leeds University conducted a study to see how using a toilet lid could affect the spread of disease, specifically in hospitals.

They used a sterilised toilet cubicle and created a ‘diarrhoea effect’ in the bowl using stool samples that had been infected with the hospital superbug C. difficile.

They found C diff was transported up to 10 inches above the toilet seat when it was open and a reduced rate was still detected in the air up to 90 minutes later.

When the lid was closed no C. difficile was recovered on any surface, but when it was open it was found on the cistern, to the right and left of the toilet seat and on the floor.

We do not practice keeping the lid down in our house, and probably more for convenience than anything else. Given this information though, I think we should change our practice. I guess I have always avoided touching the lid for fear of picking up germs, but you are already touching the handle to flush, plus you wash your hands afterwards…At least it is something to consider if someone in your home is suffering from the stomach flu.

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