Many travelers I know are extremely wary of using public toilets while sitting down, because they're afraid of catching a germ from the toilet seat. But is it really true that public toilets are dangerous? Should one carry disinfectant at all times to be safe?

closed as off-topic by Greg Hewgill, David Richerby, Ali Awan, choster, Olielo Aug 10 '17 at 5:22

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    +1 I always wonder about the same.. – Nean Der Thal Aug 8 '17 at 7:43
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    I'd title it with "We're all adults here...", but I assume this is an even bigger issue for kids. – JonathanReez Aug 8 '17 at 7:50
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    I'd make it "We're all adults here, are public toilets safe" – Nean Der Thal Aug 8 '17 at 8:00
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    I expect that it certainly is possible since the previous user might have a highly infectious disease. However, whether it is likely is a quite different question. You might also get sick because some next to you on the bus or the street coughs or sneezes on you. Maybe someone who prepared or handled your food did not wash his hands. The list is endless; if it is too scary then you will just have to stay at home. Of course, "most accidents happen at home" so that is not safe either. – badjohn Aug 8 '17 at 8:07
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a question about public health, not travel. – Greg Hewgill Aug 8 '17 at 20:01

If you don't have any injuries on the parts of the skin which touch the toilet seats, it's very unlikely that you catch an infection from the germs there. Remember, that in the whole environment our body is exposed to uncountable germs, and we still don't get sick. If you would have open wounds, it would be a different issue, but then i guess you wouldn't even sit down.

Carrying disinfectant certainly helps. There are travel sized kits with wipes, spray and hand gel. I also carry one of those, just to be safe. It is though more important to wash your hand properly and disinfect those, because that's the main entry point how you can infect yourself or other people (e.g. by eating with infected hands etc.). In case of eating, e.g., the germs are exposed to your mucosa, which is easier to pass than your skin.

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