How Bathrooms May Spread COVID-19 And How to Control It.
Doctor-recommended tips to keep your bathrooms safe during this pandemic By Dr Pritam Moon, Internal Medicine Consultant,
With the second wave of COVID-19 gripping the country, the safest place to be is inside the comfort of our homes. It goes without saying that, keeping the indoors clean is absolutely vital. However, according to some recent reports, one of the most overlooked places are bathrooms. Over the last few months, there have been some incidents across the globe that point towards how COVID-19 can spread via bathrooms. For instance, In January 2021, authorities evacuated around 30 households from a 1960s apartment block in Hong Kong, fearing vertical COVID-19 transmission. Out of these, 13 confirmed and preliminary positive cases were detected. According to experts, shared common spaces of ventilators from bathrooms and kitchens, pushed extracted air, creating a “chimney effect” and thus the infections were noticed in Hong Kong. Similarly, in Feb 2020, three families in a high-rise building in Guangzhou, China, tested positive for the coronavirus. Scientists believed virus-laden feces particles may have traveled upward through the apartment building's plumbing after toilet flush.
As hygiene continues to be a priority, it is imperative for us to ensure that every area of the house, including bathrooms, are safe and devoid of any carriers. We need to acknowledge the following threats within bathrooms and undertake measures to ensure there are no COVID-19 hotspots at home.
Exhaust ventilation: Bathroom exhaust ventilation is vital. If you have an exhaust fan, turn it on when you enter the bathroom and leave it for some time on when you’re done. If you don’t have one, slide up the toilet louver windows (even just a few inches will help) as it will facilitate proper ventilation.
Disinfecting the surface: India is home to a lot of essential workers who are exempted from lockdown to earn their daily bread. Also, a lot of people step out of the house during the period of 7 am-11 am to buy household products. As these people may be exposed to the virus are now possible carriers of the virus to their homes. When they clean themselves in the bathroom, they often forget to disinfect the sinks, taps, buckets or toilet seats that they have used before taking a shower. These areas can become a major source of pathogens that can spread the virus. It’s important to use toilet, floor and surface cleaners offering germs protection regularly to keep them disinfected. There are many options available in the market such as Godrej ProClean among others which offer 99.9% protection against germs and COVID-19 virus.
Toilets: Studies state that when one flushes the toilet, the bubbling of the water causes about 40% - 60% aerosols of the feces to rise above the toilet seat. These particles start floating and could linger in the air for 30 minutes or more. These particles later settle on surfaces that can be contagious. Hence, it’s crucial to close the lid of the toilet seat before flushing. It is also recommended to keep the lid closed when the toilet is not in use.
Bathroom Sharing: In India, an average of three people shares a room in about 103 million households according to the 2011 Census. These numbers would have increased multifold till 2021. Most of us share the same bathroom between family members, causing a higher chance of the virus spreading. Using the right products to clean the bathrooms on a daily basis can help India eradicate coronavirus from its roots and commit towards prioritizing safety, hygiene, and germ protection.
It is essential for everyone to understand the importance of sanitization of all parts of your home including bathrooms to protect not only themselves but also your loved ones.