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4 Ways to Stop the Stomach Bug From Spreading In Your Bathroom

May 10, 2023

When you think about what goes on in there, it’s hard not to feel like the bathroom is a germy place. Especially when the stomach bug or another virus is spreading around your house

“Unfortunately, by the time people realize something is going on, the virus has often already spread to next person in family, but people can try to limit the spread further,” says Mahammed Saiyed, MD, a primary care provider with the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group in Windsor.

Dr. Saiyed shares four quick tips for keeping your bathroom virus-free, including the norovirus – a common and highly contagious stomach bug.

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Clean with chlorine-based solutions.

Wipe down toilet seats, counters and other surfaces with bleach or hydrogen peroxide-based solutions. When using these antibacterial solutions, be sure to follow package directions with good ventilation so you don’t breathe in fumes.

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Wash your hands often.

Do this after cleaning and using the bathroom, and before eating. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Dr. Saiyed recommends using a timer on your smartwatch or phone to make sure everyone scrubs long enough. Washing reminders can also be set for when you return home.

Use separate towels.

Each person should have their own hand and bath towels. Whoever does laundry should wear gloves for soiled sheets or towels, and still wash your hands with soap afterward. Wash towels daily, or use paper towels, when people in the house are sick.

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Close the toilet seat when you flush.

Many diseases are airborne and closing the toilet seat before flushing can reduce the spread of disease.

“Viruses like COVID-19 shed in the toilet, in stool, so it is a good habit to close the toilet before flushing,” Dr. Saiyed says.

Researchers at the University of Colorado studied how droplets fly through the air when toilets are flushed using lasers and cameras to measure the speed and spread of the droplets. The researchers recommend spending minimal time with toilets in non-ventilated spaces, warning that airborne droplets transmit both respiratory and intestinal diseases.