Having to use a pubic loo can feel like playing Russian roulette. Sometimes you luck out with a hygienic oasis of calm. Other times you basically enter the Seventh Circle of Hell.
When nature calls and you're not feeling the cleanliness of the public toilet you're in, you may be tempted to squat, hover or faff around with toilet paper. All this in a bid to avoid catching any nasties. However, the likelihood of catching something - such as a sexually transmitted disease - from a public toilet is very, very slim.
Yet Dr Preethi Daniel reveals that this is one of the questions she's asked the most. As for her answer, she tells Her: "To contract these diseases the germs would have to be directly transferred from the toilet seat to your genital tract, or through an open wound or sore on your legs or buttocks. You are more likely to be struck by lightning whilst riding a flying pig than catching a sexually transmitted disease from a public toilet seat, so please don’t worry."
The only diseases you're at risk of picking up from a public toilet seat is E-coli or Salmonella. Interestingly, Dr Daniel reveals that the very steps people take out of fear or caution could actually do more harm. By "fussing around" and trying to squat, hover or put loo roll down - anything to avoid actually making contact with the loo seat - you could be in danger of getting a UTI.
"All that squatting and hovering we do to avoid touching the toilet seat, and the mad rush we are in to get out of the toilet cubicle are what can give us a urine infection," she explained. "By not emptying your bladder completely, in a rush or if you are squatting, you are exposing your body to potentially harmful bacteria." Dr Daniel's only advice in public toilet matters is to do a good job of washing your hands and invest in some hand sanitiser.