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World Toilet Day 2021: How to Use Toilets in Public & Private Spaces for Better Hygiene - onlymyhealth - Chanchal Sengar

World Toilet Day 2021: How to Use Toilets in Public & Private Spaces for Better Hygiene - onlymyhealth - Chanchal Sengar

Nov 19, 2021

Sandeep Nair

This world toilet day, let us tell you some tips to maintain hygiene while using public and private toilet spaces.

Bollywood might have given a happy ending to Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, but in the real world, almost half of the world's entire human population is forced to live without a safely managed sanitation service, i.e., a toilet. A toilet that is a shared space for multiple households and doesn't dispose of human waste on-site but stores it to be emptied off-site, which in turn is connected to a functioning sewer. The fortunate half of the human population doesn't realize how lucky they are to have toilets and don't have to lead an undignified, hazardous, and germ-ridden life. This world toilet day, let us all take pledge to ensure better sanitation and hygiene to ward off associated risks.

The Indian public toilet system has always been under scrutiny, especially in rural and semi-urban areas. Even the existing infrastructure is more often than not untidy and unhygienic to use. It is especially difficult for women and girls because of the physical contact required. Having said that, even after knowing the brutal conditions of public toilets, sometimes people have no other choice. At such a crossroad, what can one do?

Against this backdrop, here is a step-by-step guide on how people can use public and private toilets without worrying about safety and hygiene factors:

How to use use public toilets safely?

Making every toilet environment super hygienic and clean to use requires following certain steps suggested by health expert Mrs Manisha Reetesh Dhingra, Co-Founder, WiZ Care. 

Step 1: Don’t Touch

First, make sure you enter a toilet without touching any surfaces like door handles since most people don't wash their hands properly, and the chances of it being coated with layers of germs are pretty high. This is where you can use your clothes to shield yourself from touching things directly. However, it is best to carry a small pack of disinfectant wipes and just use it to open the doorknob

Step 2: Mask your nose

Once you are done with it, an unpleasant whiff of public toilet odor will enter your nasal cavities, keep a three-ply face mask on or use your light scarf to cover your nose and mouth. If you have nothing, just cover your nose with your sleeves or just the inside of your elbows. Make sure that even while entering a stall or urinal, you don't touch anything.

Step 3: Scan the toilet space

After entering the private stall or toilet space, first visually scan the toilet seat, and look for traces of dampness or discoloration as it can be traces of things you wouldn't want there. Take some toilet paper and wipe the seat carefully without contaminating your skin. It is best to use disinfectant sprays and wipes, but if you don't have that, use the available toilet paper. Put the toilet paper on the seat before sitting down. Remember, even while flushing, use toilet paper or a wipe to touch the flush lever manually.

Step 4: Wash hands properly

Now to the washing hands part, make sure you use thorough hand washing protocols. If there are no automatic water faucets, use wipes and paper towels to turn the taps on and off. Remember, using soap and water is best, but carrying a good hand sanitizer is a great backup plan. While exiting the toilet, use the same steps as you did while entering it. Dispose of the wipe or toilet paper you're using to open the doorknobs in a dustbin. And, use a hand sanitizer afterward, just to make sure your hands are clean and safe. 

Keeping private toilet space clean 

Unlike public restrooms, private toilet space is relatively clean and used by members of the family. However, keeping the area clean and tidy is crucial. Ensure every house member uses disinfectant sprays and wipes to clean the toilet seat frequently, preferably after every use. Follow proper hand washing rules and keep handwash stations clean and hygienic. In addition, while going out, always keep hand sanitizers and single or pack of santizing wipes handy. You never know when you come across dire restroom situations. 

Why sanitation is important?  

According to the World Toilet Organization (WTO), at least two billion people worldwide are involuntarily drinking water from sources that are contaminated with feces. Furthermore, more than 700 children under the age of five die from diseases like diarrhea linked to unsafe water consumption, poor sanitation, and lack of proper hygiene. 

If you think that just because you have a clean toilet to use, you will be safe and sound from all the diseases caused by exposure to unhygienic places, you are wrong. Even a handful of people in a community without safe toilets resources can threaten the health of everyone. In fact, poor sanitary practices can severely contaminate drinking water resources like rivers, food crops, even beaches and spread deadly diseases among the extended population. 

Sanitation is a human right recognized by the United Nations, but at least 3.6 billion people worldwide beg to differ. All the evolution so far means nothing if humans can't lead a dignified and hygienic lifestyle that is not important for just a handful of fortunate people but everyone. And, even though several government bodies are trying to make toilets accessible for everyone, we still have a long way to go. It's high time that the public and private sectors come together and fight against unsanitary practices. 

Image credits- freepik