Covid-19: why it is advisable to use a mask in public toilets

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Toilets, especially public bathrooms, are breeding grounds for bacteria. And they are even more so in these times of coronavirus. Therefore, to avoid possible contamination, it is essential to wear the mask in the bathroom, according to a new study.

Given the increase in the incidence rate of the coronavirus, the use of a mask has become mandatory both indoors and outdoors. Therefore, it is advisable to wear your mask on the streets, restaurants, hotels, shopping centers or at work. A good reflex that should also be applied in public toilets, according to the results of a new Chinese study published in the American Institute of Physics journal Physics of Fluids.

And for good reason: The researchers explained that flushing from public toilets could release airborne particles, called "aerosols." These aerosols can carry pathogens, such as Covid-19. People without a mask in the bathroom could breathe in these particles and thus become contaminated with the virus.

Public toilets: particles can reach the thigh in 5 seconds

The researchers said the virus could be detected in stool. That is why traces of coronavirus have been found in wastewater. To complete their study, they conducted an experiment using fluid dynamics to understand how particles spread in public toilets when the toilet was flushed. "The results indicate that the trajectory of the particles expelled by the toilet cistern is manifested with an external propagation mode", specify the scientists.

According to the study, 57% of the particles would spread from the urinals. "Urinals are used more frequently. The particles move faster and farther," the researchers note. Even more alarming: the projected particles can reach a man's thigh in 5.5 seconds and spread higher in 35 seconds.

Covid-19: wearing a mask is essential in public toilets

The results showed that the discharge caused by the flush flow spread the virus initially present in the toilet bowl in an elevated position. Therefore, scientists have estimated that sprays in public toilets could cause Covid-19 infection.

"Masks should be mandatory in public restrooms and improvements in aerosol spraying are urgently needed, especially in the current crisis," the researchers concluded.

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