Home News Leaving the toilet lid up while flushing could cause virus infection, scientists...

Leaving the toilet lid up while flushing could cause virus infection, scientists warn

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And these droplets are so fine that they can remain floating in the air for up to a minute afterwards.

Coronavirus is known to be spread through airborne droplets – as well as contaminated objects – and it’s also thought that the virus could be present in faecal matter, the BBC reports.

toilet

Flushing the toilet launches particles from the bowl into the air, researchers said. (Image: Witthaya Prasongsin / Getty)

Scientists in China have calculated that the plume of droplets that can spray out of a flushing toilet could reach well over head height when one is sat down – up to three feet from ground level.

There is apparently no clear evidence that coronavirus can be spread from flushing toilets, however the study claims that “faecal-oral transmission is a common transmission route for many viruses, including SARS-CoV-2”.

Either way, the study suggests that, as a precaution, it might be a good idea to get into the habit of shutting the toilet lid while flushing.

The scientists, from Yangzhou University, used a computer model to come to their conclusions, and the work is published in the journal Physics of Fluids.

toilet lid

The researchers advocated for closing the toilet lid before flushing. (Image: Madhourse / Getty)

Poor toilet hygiene can spread viruses, and this is known as faecal-oral transmission.

The study, written by author Ji-Xiang Wang and colleagues, states: “It is clear from daily experience that flushing a toilet generates strong turbulence within the bowl.”

This turbulence is sufficient to launch airborne particles into the air, and the study observed “massive upwards transport of virus particles”.

Between 40 and 60 percent of the particles reached above the toilet seat, the researchers said.

READ: China urged to share crucial information and second wave spreads in Beijing

toilet engaged

Researchers claimed the particles lingered in the air, too. (Image: Simon Verrall / Getty)

Researchers around the world are still investigating links between human waste and Covid-19 infections; the BBC reports that some are testing sewage to find out how people might have become infected.

There have also been cases where people with Covid-19 have reported gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhoea and vomiting, suggesting the virus could survive in the digestive system.

What’s more, this new study refers to a research team from Sun Yat-Sen University who, in March this year, found evidence that Covid-19 could possibly be spread via faecal-oral transmission based on faecal samples from patients.

Based on their conclusions, the researchers from the Yangzhou study are advocating for people to “put the toilet lid down before flushing, which can basically prevent virus transmission”.

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washing hands

Good toiletry hygiene involves washing hands thoroughly. (Image: Jose Heres / EyeEm / Getty)

Two other recommendations the researchers made were cleaning the toilet seat before use, “since floating virus particles could have settled on its surface,” and carefully washing hands after flushing.

In addition, Dr Bryan Bzdek from the Bristol Aerosol Research Centre at the University of Bristol told the BBC that precautions to take – in addition to shutting the toilet lid – include cleaning contact areas and washing hands after using the toilet.

He said that while the study “is unable to demonstrate” that such measures could help reduce Covid-19 transmission, other viruses can be spread through the faecal-oral route, “so there are good hygiene practices to have anyway”.

Meanwhile, new figures have highlighted the effect that the pandemic is having on unemployment in the UK.

The BBC reported yesterday that, according to official figures, the number of people in payrolls in the UK declined by 600,000 between March and May.

At the same time, the number of people claiming work-related benefits was up 126 percent.

The government’s wage support schemes are due to come to an end this October.



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