Can You Catch Diseases From a Toilet Seat?
You may not be thrilled to use a public toilet, but for the most part, you need not fear catching any diseases from one. To understand why, it helps to remember that disease-causing microbes are everywhere. You can find them on your keyboard, on doorknobs, on money, and even on your smartphone. Yes, they're probably on the toilet seat too, but which one do think is cleaned more often--a toilet or your phone? Which one do you hold closer to your face? Compared to other objects you touch every day, the toilet is not a significant source of disease-carrying microbes.
One myth that needs to be quashed is the one about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Can you really catch an STI from a toilet seat? Almost certainly not. These diseases survive and spread from skin-to-skin contact, and once they hit cold porcelain they are soon dead. There has never been a single reported case of an STI transmitted by sitting on a toilet seat.
All the same, there are a few more common microbial diseases that may be spread from toilet seats. The good news is that the risk is nearly eliminated just by washing your hands. Those diseases include E. coli, Strep, and Staph microbes, as well as the microbes (viruses) responsible for colds and flu. But remember--these disease-causing microbess need a way into your body, and merely resting on your skin won't cut it. Most need to contact your mucus membranes--your eyes, nose, or mouth--to do any damage. So if you avoid touching your face before washing your hands, chances are you'll be just fine.