I follow Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding on Twitter, specifically for all of the helpful information he posts about COVID-19. But he also provides info about all kinds of other issues related to public health. A few years ago, I had read somewhere that you should avoid using hand dryers in public restrooms—the kind that blows air to dry your hands, so I've been avoiding doing that for some time now. This morning, though, I was reminded why, and have made a renewed effort to double down on my decision to avoid them. Instead, I shake my hands to get the water off, or I just dry them on my pants.
This morning, Dr. Feigl-Ding tweeted, "DO NOT USE BATHROOM HAND DRYERS. Research shows these dryers suck in and blow fecal aerosols. Shake your hands dry instead." He also shared this TikTok video, "How Germy Is It?", where someone collects samples from various bathrooms and sees how many "germs" grow in each sample.
He does one control – shaking his hands – and also collects several samples from hand dryers in a variety of settings, including a gas station, movie theater, and store. You can see from his results that the hand dryers result in a lot of growth, while the sample does not. YUCK. So please stop using them, if you haven't already. Also, fecal aerosols can carry COVID-19, so double yuck. Wearing a mask in public toilets is also a terrific idea.