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This Is the Only Stall You Should Use in a Public Bathroom

When faced with a choice, which stall do you selectin a public bathroom? Typically, youd enter any of the ones that appear reasonably clean and hope for the best, right? But what if you could take the guessing game out of this dire dilemma?When it comes to public restrooms, theres a prevailing idea that you should avoid the middle stalls if possible and instead choose the first stall. The thought is that its the least used,meaning its the only one you should be using because its likely to be the cleanest.Its true that if you take a surveyand there are a couple that have been done, people tend to (subconsciously or not) go to the stalls that are in the more sequestered section of the bathroom, and avoid those up front , saysPhilip Tierno, PhD, clinical professor in the department of pathology with NYU Langone Health in New York City.(Also, do you know the most germ-infested things you touch every single day?)

Studying stall use

One study back in 1995 inPsychological Scienceexamined thisand perhaps kicked off the fascination with whatbathroom stallto choose. Psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld tracked how often the toilet paper was changedin each of four stalls for 10 weeks. His results: While 60 percent of finished rolls came from the middlestalls, only 40 percent came from those at the ends. That indicatesthat far more people used the stalls in the middle than randomprobability mightanticipate.A survey fromNew YorkMagazinetook the analysis a step further by analyzing the preferences of men and women. A majority of both men and womenprefer the middle stall, but since the stalls and urinals in the line are rarely truly identical, men then show a preference for whatever is closest to the door while women go to whats furthest away.Still, just because fewer people use an end stall, that doesnt necessarily mean its cleaner. Some viruses need very few cells to cause an infection. For instance,norovirusneeds just one cell to make you ill. Thats not to scare you, but to give you the heads up that just because a stall looks clean doesnt mean it is, says Tierno. Same goes for just because you choose the first stall, doesnt mean its clean either. Its not as simple or straightforward as it sounds, he says. (Psst: Learn the toilet mistakes you didn’t even know you were making.)Thats why practicing smart public restroom hygiene habits is so important. Heres what Tierno does: he carries his own towelettes. He washes his hands at the sink (this is a mustwhether you pressed the flusher or not, you just contaminated your hands by touching the door and latch), then dries his hands with the towel, and uses the towel to shut off the sink. After, he uses the towel to open the door and drops the towel outside. (Ideally, in a wastebasket.) Thats the best way to protect yourself from germs.Next, learn the importance oftoilet seat covers.Medically reviewed by Tia Jackson-Bey, MD.

The post This Is the Only Stall You Should Use in a Public Bathroom appeared first on Best Health Magazine Canada.

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