Q: How concerned should I be about getting diseases from using public restrooms?
A: Germs are EVERYWHERE, but you shouldn’t let that fact make you paranoid. (In fact one study showed that there were more germs on the handles of a grocery store shopping cart than there were in a public restroom).
The most important safety measure you can follow is to wash your hands frequently, and especially any time after they have come in contact with surfaces that many other people have also handled.
Using warm water and soap, hands (all the way up to the wrists) should be scrubbed vigorously for at least 15 seconds.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.