Hot Tips (Healthy Facilities)

Reduce the Spread of Germs in Restrooms

It’s flu season again. According to WebMD, from December to January between five and 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu. While campus administrators can prepare by encouraging students to get their flu vaccines and increase their vitamin C and iron intake, there are still other ways to prevent flu’s spread — even in places you don’t typically think about, like the restroom.

Here four ways that can help prevent the spread of germs in the restroom:

1. Provide paper towels instead of air dryers.
One recent study characterizes hand dryers as “germ-spreading machines,” blowing germs up to four feet. The CDC tells us damp hands transfer germs and often, people don’t wait for their hands to dry fully when using a hand dryer. On the other hand, paper towels are able to grab those extra germs left behind by washing.

2. Offer automated paper towel dispensing versus the stacked pile on a counter.
Restrooms that use automated towel dispensing are more hygiene-friendly. The dispenser fully encloses the towel, ensuring you only touch the paper towel you will use, as opposed to countertop towels that often get dripped on by multiple hands.

3. Make sure toilet paper is enclosed.
Toilet paper with any sort of protective casing is better than a simple roll, which is exposed to all the germs from toilet flushing — especially when the toilet has no lid.

4. Provide touchless sanitizer.
Public restrooms often feature many touchpoints, but the top-notch ones provide touchless sanitizer dispensing that allows visitors to perform frequent hand hygiene.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Gloria Potichko is the head of marketing communications for GP PRO, a leading global provider of innovative, integrated washroom and food service solutions for commercial facilities. She can be reached at Gloria.Potichko@gapac.com.

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