Arguably nothing epitomizes modern society’s cellphone addiction more than seeing a row of men at the urinal stalls, phones in hands.
But doctors are warning the habit is more than a just a reminder of how attached men are to their devices — it carries series health risks.
Dr Helen Bernie, a urologist from Indiana University Health, said bacteria-ridden urine splash-back stays for days in toilets and public restrooms.
Studies have found that droplets of urine can ricochet off the back of a pan or urinal and reach distances of up to three feet. Flushing can send launch urine up to six feet away.
Splash back from urination can travel up to three feet — almost one meter, while flushing a toilet or urinal can spread disease-causing germs up to six feet
Phones can become easily contaminated from splash back and then travel via the fecal-oral route — where bacteria from feces get into your mouth after contaminated surfaces, such as a phone, touch your face
Dr Helen Bernie, a urologist from Indiana University Health, told DailyMail.com: ‘Backsplash travels up into the penis and then you could even transmit that to a partner’
A 2021 survey by NordVPN found that 65 percent of 9,800 adults use their phones in the restroom.
There is a common misconception that using one hand to pee and the other hand to hold your phone will minimize the spread of germs and keep them off your device.
Dr Bernie told DailyMail.com: ‘Even if you think you’re clean and you’re just touching yourself, or you’re not even flushing a urinal, there’s a lot of backsplash that happens.
‘These public toilets are often absolutely filthy bacteria hotspots that have germs and bacteria on everything you touch, from the door to walk into the bathroom, the floor, that cubicle door, the wall you might lean against or near, the taps to flush the toilet.
‘Everything is getting sprayed up into the air with the perfect breeding ground for bacteria like E coli, streptococcus, hepatitis A and E, which can lead to significant GI disturbances like diarrhea, fever, shigella. All of these are there.’
Feces and urine can contain a host of bacteria and viruses. When you flush a urinal or toilet, the bacteria is dispersed in an aerosolized plume.
A study in Physics of Fluids found that 57 percent of the splash particles from flushing a urinal can travel to the person in 5.5 seconds.
Dr Bernie added: ‘Studies have shown there’s significant water or urine droplets in the backsplash from when people urinate and pee and they stay there for days in toilets and public restrooms.
‘So on top of that you’re holding your phone which may get backsplash as it is or your body and then you’re walking out with it. It’s really disgusting.’
Bathroom supplier QS Supplies conducted a splash-back survey simulating urination. The furthest distance a droplet flew was three feet — almost one meter.
Phones can become easily contaminated this way and then travel via the fecal-oral route — where bacteria from feces get into your mouth after contaminated surfaces, such as a phone, touch your face.
A 2020 study in Iran sampled 1,062 restrooms, collecting samples from restroom door handles, toilets, flush handles, soap and hand dryers. Researchers found that 89 percent of the samples were contaminated, most commonly with E. coli, which accounted for 29 percent of samples.
Backsplash can harm others beside the direct recipient, too.
Dr Bernie said: ‘Backsplash travels up into the penis and then you could even transmit that to a partner. Bacterial vaginosis is linked with like increased risks of catching sexually transmitted infections and that guys can transmit this from their penis to the vaginal wall for female partners.’
Hand dryers were also found to put bacteria back onto your hands.
Dallin Lewis, 33, held petri dishes under the machines at a public restroom, gas station, movie theater and shop in Provo, Utah, for several seconds.
After incubating them for three days the dishes were found to be crawling with bacteria and fungi — which appeared in white, yellow and black smudges. The public bathroom dryer appeared to be the most contaminated.
But a separate petri dish which was waved through the air in the bathroom before being incubated to mimic when someone shakes their hands after washing them to get the water off, stayed completely clear.
The average man takes 21 seconds to urinate, but that is still enough time for millions of bacteria to make their way into our system.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk