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19 November 2021 is World Toilet Day, and it is commemorated under the theme 'valuing toilets'. According to Global Water Partnerships, World Toilet Day is a reminder for all to act and be part of the solution to the global sanitation crisis. This would help towards achievement of the “Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

“Sanitation is dignity” is a slogan that has been adopted by the Department of Water and Sanitation in the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) to promote understanding of the importance of sanitation to people’s livelihood and their health. This message has been echoed through one of the core messages to commemorate World Toilet Day 2021, that a toilet gives dignity and hygiene living.

Those who have toilets are urged to appreciate them and think about those who unfortunately do not have access to this facility. An estimated 3.6 billion people around the world do not have access to toilets. So those who have toiles are reminded to take care of them. Some of the ways to do this is by preserving the current infrastructure so that resources may be utilised to lay new infrastructure for new developments or much needed maintenance to minimise interruptions to services.

Having a toilet also requires consideration to personal health, that of the individual, their family and other people.

The following are some of the tips for better health and hygiene practices in the bathroom:

Put the toilet seat down before flushing

Infectious diseases may be transmitted through germs from the seat and spills from the toilet. So before flushing, put the toilet seat down. It is estimated that about 1 million bacteria stay alive after a toilet has been flushed!

So, ensure all toilets and urinals are kept spotlessly clean, always.

Keep toilet seats clean

For one’s own health benefit it is good practice to always wipe the toilet seat with the sanitising liquid found either inside the toilet cubicle or the bathroom by the taps before sitting down and after use.

Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after toilet use

When you step out of the toilet without washing your hands with soap and water, germs on your hands can be transmitted to others who are in close contact with you. In addition, when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with contaminated hands, the germs can enter your body.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, hand washing with soap and water decreases the number of people who get sick with diarrhoea by 30%. Consequently, creating the time to wash hands with soap and water must be a priority with every toilet visit.

It is imperative to properly wash hands especially in these times of COVID-19 pandemic. The toilet is one of the most common places for infestation of germs.

Dry hands before living the bathroom

Whether you use a hand towel or hand dryer, always dry your hands before leaving the bathroom. Scientists suggest that damp hands are responsible for spreading close to 1 000 times more germs than dry hands.

Keep bathroom floors dry

Bathroom floors also carry bacteria. A damp floor provides the perfect environment for bacteria that cause diseases. Bacteria functions best in an environment that is moist.

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