E. Coli Infection
E. coli infection is caused by fecal bacteria which is found inside our intestines. The bacteria can cling to surfaces, meaning it’s often found in public bathrooms. If exposed to E. coli bacteria, you may experience diarrhea (possibly with blood), abdominal cramps and vomiting.
Similarly Norovirus is easy to contract, resulting in similar symptoms. It can survive on a toilet seat or similar nonporous surface for up to two weeks, even when cleaned.
How to protect yourself against contamination
Protecting yourself against the effects of germs is simple when you follow a few easy precautionary suggestions.
Use a good sanitizer
Using a reliable hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content will ensure 99.9% of bacteria on your hands after touching items around you is killed off, eliminating the risk of contamination.
Try to use it as soon as possible after touching something questionable. Not only will this protect you from germs, it will also put your mind at ease, ensuring you can relax and have a good time.
Take a book or magazine
Rather than using the ones in waiting rooms, which will have been touched by hundreds of other patients or customers, bring a book or magazine to keep you entertained. By using a smartphone, tablet or e-reader, you can have endless entertainment at your fingertips, which no-one else will have come into contact with. You’ll avoid boredom while staying clean and healthy.
Make the most of the space around you
If you’re stuck in a doctor’s waiting room, try to leave two chars in between you and each other patient. This will reduce your chances of picking up their infections. Germs from sneezes or coughs can travel up to three feet, so the further the distance, the less of a risk.
While you may think considering the risks of contamination makes you a germophobe, there’s nothing wrong with looking out for your health and taking the steps to avoid viral illnesses.
If you get a strange look for opening a door with a tissue, for example, you needn’t worry. You’re unlikely to ever see that person again and you’ll be the one laughing when you avoid the common cold.