Why Your Best Health Begins in the Bathroom!

Good hygiene begins in the bathroom. But, if you don’t watch your step while washing up, you could put your health in danger. Every year, there are an estimated 234,000 bathroom injuries that result in emergency room visits in the United States.

“The number is astounding,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “It’s something that I see quite often, because when you’re in the bathroom, there are a lot of things that can cause you to injure yourself. It’s hot, it’s slippery, sometimes straining [on the toilet] can do damage.”

Ask Our Doctors: Shower Edition

When is the best time to shower? Is it ever dangerous to bathe? Should you worry about hair loss while shampooing? The Doctors answer your most pressing shower questions.

Should you shower immediately after working out?
Are vinyl shower curtains toxic?

The Doctors reveal the top-five bathroom mishaps, and explain how you can keep yourself safe:

1. Slipping and Falling in the Bathroom
: One person dies every day from a bathroom-related fall, and one in three seniors suffers from a serious slip in the bathroom at least once a year, half of the time resulting in a fractured hip, pelvic, spine or other body part.

How to Stay Safe
Use non-skid mats.

Wax wood floors with non-slip wax and buff.
Install grab bars near toilets, showers and tubs.
Make sure shower curtain rods are secure, as they are often the first thing a person grabs for during a fall.

2. Broken Glass: In 2009, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recorded approximately 2,000 incidents where glass shower doors shattered without warning. Federal and state laws do require shower doors to be made out of safety glass, but if they do break, they can cause cuts and scratches, and small glass particles can get imbedded under the skin.

How to Stay Safe
Always close glass shower doors with caution, and don’t put extra pressure on handles or bars.

Make sure all mirrored wall medicine cabinets have the proper stoppers in place to avoid slamming.

3. Third-Degree Burns: Every year, about 112,000 people are treated for scalding burns, often caused by hot water, steam or objects, like the faucet, and about 6 percent of those people are hospitalized.

Going to the Bathroom

From an upset stomach and hemorrhoids to plunging the toilet and foul-smelling gas,  gastroenterologist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez answers your biggest bathroom questions.

How to Stay Safe
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says to set your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees F.

If you are burned, run cold water over the injury for approximately 30 minutes. Do not use ice, because it can damage the tissue.
Always test bath water before placing a child in the tub.
Avoid flushing toilets, running water or using the dish washer while showering.

4. White Surfaces: The combination of lights, white walls and countertops and reflective surfaces such as mirrors and faucets can cause disorientation. A person with weak vision is at risk for being blinded by the glare, making him or her unable to see water on the floor, which can result in a slip and fall.

How to Stay Safe
Use glare-reducing frosted light bulbs in the bathroom.

Break up the white décor with a contrasting rug or line of tiles, and add color in the bathroom.

5. Passing Out: A person may pass out in the bathroom for a number of reasons, such as becoming light-headed during a hot shower as a result of heat-induced dilated blood vessels, and straining on the toilet.

Straining while using the toilet can cause a rapid decrease in blood pressure, and a drop in heart rate, causing you to go unconscious.

How to Stay Safe
If you are severely constipated, talk with your doctor about your diet.

Try Toilet Yoga to help ease your bowels.

Bathroom Dangers

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Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears helps Jeana potty train her 2-year-old son, Whistler. Learn Dr. Sears’ top training tips!

More potty training tips.

Homemade Spray Cleaner Recipe
Mix in a sprayer bottle:
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

Mix in a sprayer bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tbsp white vinegar

Strong Glass Cleaner Recipe

Mix in a sprayer bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water

1 tbsp clear, non-sudsing ammonia

Strong All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Mix in a sprayer bottle:
1 tbsp clear, non-sudsing ammonia
1 tbsp clear laundry detergent

2 cups water


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OAD 1/17/12