Should You Fear the Toilet Seat?

Playing Can You Get the Flu, a Cold or an STD from a Toilet Seat?

The Doctors talk toilets and answer some common questions about just how dirty those public toilet seats are. Can you catch a disease while sitting on one?

The Doctors share that 65% of people they polled believe that you can catch the flu from a toilet seat... and they were correct! ER physician Dr. Travis Stork shares that the influenza virus can live for 2 – 3 days on nonporous surfaces like remote controls, your phone and yes, the toilet seat. What about the common cold?

Watch: Toilet Seat Covers – Are They Really Necessary?

61% of people polled said they believe you can catch the common cold from the toilet seat and technically, they were also correct! Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra says that it is highly unlikely, and the cold virus survives a shorter amount of time than the influenza virus. In both cases the chances of contracting the virus are unlikely. “This is the beauty of medicine. There are a lot of technically true things that practically aren’t,” says Dr. Travis. 

Lastly, over 50% of people polled believe you can contract an STD from the toilet seat. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says the truth is, you can’t! STD viruses don’t like to live outside of the body and they are only going to last on the toilet seat for about ten seconds. So unless you have a real quick turnaround on that seat…

Dr. Batra says about half of women won’t sit on the seat in a public restroom, and The Doctors point out that toilet seats are actually cleaner than many other areas of the bathroom. The Doctors actually swabbed some public restrooms to see how dirty they were. Dr. Travis boasts that men’s toilet seats were found to be cleaner than women’s! 

Watch: Is It Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat?

The Doctors also read that women will almost always choose the stall furthest from the entrance while men tend to go for the first stall. The swabs show this is true! In men’s restrooms the toilet seat closest to the door is the dirtiest but in the women’s, it’s the seat furthest from the door.

Dr. Batra says apparently, only 66% of Americans wash their hands after using public restrooms and The Doctors all stress, everyone should be washing in there!