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Put a lid on it

December 29, 2014
by Kathleen Mears
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At a previous nursing home where I lived, an aide asked me what I could do in the bathroom to stop the spread of germs. I have to admit I was a little dumbfounded. I thought I was pretty good about taking care of germs and knowing what to do to prevent them from increasing. That aide walked over and put the lid down the toilet before flushing it, telling me that this action prevents germs getting into the air. I was impressed with that aide.

While reading the news last week, I saw a link to a story about infection prevention. Initially it mentioned a doctor who wished hospitals had wipe dispensers to clean off stethoscopes, which sounded like a good idea to me. But then the doctor went on to say that the one thing that spreads germs is leaving the toilet seat up while flushing.

It has been a few years since I was given that advice and I am hearing it again. There are a few aides at this nursing home who realize the importance of putting the lid down before flushing.

The contents of the toilet bowl aerosolize when the toilet is flushed, which moves germs around the bathroom. Since most nursing home bathrooms are only cleaned once a day, that leaves a fertile breeding ground.

The article I read suggested that children should be taught this in school and there should be public service announcements on TV and radio to educate the public on the importance of how this small gesture can stop the spread of germs.

Putting the lid down before flushing is a New Year's resolution we could all carry out. It is the least we can do for our health.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...