Using a public toilet in Nigeria is an extreme sport that should be done with caution.
When you think of public toilets, especially in Nigeria, all you probably remember is the germs and water lurking around the floors and toilet seats, the smell of Dettol mixed with different body fluids, and it just makes you want to puke.
World Toilet Day (WTD) is an annual global event organized by UN-Water to raise awareness about the crucial role that sanitation plays in reducing disease and creating healthier communities.
It is celebrated annually on November 19, and the theme for World Toilet Day 2023, “Accelerating Change for Safe Sanitation,” reflects the ongoing effort to speed up the necessary changes that will result in safe sanitation practices at the global level.
Research shows that recurring urinary tract infections and some bacterial diseases can be caused by the use of public toilets.
Although the use of a public toilet can’t be totally avoided, here are some safety tips to consider while using a public toilet.
1. Don’t Use The First Toilet
Except that it’s the only one available at that point in time, it’s better to avoid the first toilet.
The chances of it being as clean as the others are low. Why? Because that was probably everyone’s choice before you came along.
2. Always Have Your Own Pack of Tissue Handy
To be on the safe side, the importance of having your own pack of tissues can’t be overemphasized. Not all public restrooms provide tissue paper, so it’s safer to always go about with yours. It’s also better hygiene-wise, as you don’t know how the person who used the toilet handled it.
It may have even fallen down and been placed back; you never know, so as a precaution, try removing the first layer before use.
3. Protect Your Belongings
If you are taking your personal belongings, e.g., your bag, to the toilet with you, the last thing you want is them falling on the floor or even in the toilet (I will probably just abandon them there if this happens)
To avoid this, the safest place to keep it is outside the toilet. If you are left with no option, it’s better to keep it hanging on the doorknob or wall counter, far away from germs.
Putting it on the floor is a no-no.
4. Try Sitting Instead Of Squatting
Trying to convince a woman that it’s better to sit on a seat in a public toilet than squat may be hard or near impossible.
We are all afraid of getting infected, and saying we should sit on a seat that probably breeds thousands of germs just sounds queer.
According to experts, it’s actually safer and better to sit, as there is minimal risk of getting infected.
Just try to wipe the seat with tissue and a disinfectant, and you are good to go.
5. Avoid laying tissue on the toilet seat
Most of us are guilty of this act. No matter how good this decision might seem, it’s actually one of the worst.
One way you should try to avoid coming into contact with all the bacteria floating around in public toilets is by coating the seat with tissue paper to make a ‘protective layer’.
What you fail to realize is that you are actually exposing yourself to more bacteria and germs by doing this.
6. Flush with care
After you are done with your ‘business’, you need to leave correctly. To avoid germs flying in the air, gently close the toilet lid right after you stand up, and flush the water only after you close the lid.
7. Finally, wash your hands thoroughly
This is by far the most important step to reduce the risk of disease and infection after using a public toilet.
It is advised that you thoroughly wash your hands and dry them, either with hair dryers or paper towel dispensers.
As much as possible, you should avoid touching any surfaces, especially the doorknobs, when leaving the restroom. Do not use your bare hands.
Also, have your sanitizer handy just in case.