Public spaces, hygiene and the germ hypothesis remain contentious issues in our crazy and crowded environment. The reality is that we share our spaces at work,school and even whilst using public transport. This creates a favourable mechanism of spreading various bugs that could lead to infection. Germs comprise various organisms like viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi and it is important to note that not ALL germs lead to infections in humans.
Sometimes the clinical manifestations are linked to a specific species. The factors that influence developing infections are determined by: The immune status of the individual, the colonisation or volume of infectious organisms, the duration of exposure, and the specific organism involved.
Most people are totally unaware of their exposure to risk on a daily basis. It is imperative that we all have a basic understanding of hygiene and its role in keeping healthy.
Washing your hands regularly and closing the toilet lid before flushing are very important. The spray perimeter during flushing an open toilet is up to 5 meters.this makes you look at your toothbrush holder and towel rack and face cloths with some apprehension.
We share so many devices and areas – computer keypads, doorknobs, keys, ATM’s , escalators,rental cars and even the handshake. I am constantly amazed when I reflect upon the challenges females have to face in view emptying their bladders. This is evident at any public mass gathering or special event including festivals , sports events and event music concerts where we always see the marathon queues and slow turnover of bathroom trips. Keeping it in so long is never good.
I have been confronted on multimedia medical platforms with comments and queries regarding the popular clinical diagnosis of Bladder infection – AKA UTI / Cystitis
The awareness of hygiene is a major objective in many corporates but what about public toilets. The idea sends shivers down the spine of many a woman. What’s interesting to note is the culture that has emerged of ladies hovering like a helicopter over the toilet in public venues and restaurant bathrooms – my shocking revelation of what they go through by hooking handbags onto coat hooks behind toilet door to suspend themselves in mid air – water-less hand sanitiser and wet wipes are now essentials in the growing handbag.
Patients are also surprised when I explain the role that urine retention can play in facilitating infections.Issues like incomplete voiding combined with hygiene control can lead to more bladder infections. UTI (Urinary tract infections) are far more frequent in females due to the anatomy of the urogenital tract and the short distance infectious organisms must travel from the skin into the urethral opening.
Even more alarming is the poor governance of antibiotic stewardship – this refers to the regular and often incorrect use of antibiotic drugs to treat these infections. Here we refer to incorrect indications for using a specific antibiotic , recurrent use, as well as incomplete management of difficult-to-treat cases.
The question we have to ask ourselves is what are we doing to protect ourselves against these infection risks? With our current busy lifestyles it almost seems impossible for woman to avoid public toilets and their coherent risks leaving them dis-empowered to protect themselves. So let me ask you, what do you do and how do you protect yourself?