Wear your mask in the bathroom so you don't get coronavirus from poop

The New York Times has a new report on the aerosol distribution of toilet flushing:

Scientists have found that in addition to clearing out whatever business you’ve left behind, flushing a toilet can generate a cloud of aerosol droplets that rises nearly three feet. Those droplets may linger in the air long enough to be inhaled by a shared toilet’s next user, or land on surfaces in the bathroom.

This toilet plume isn’t just gross. In simulations, it can carry infectious coronavirus particles that are already present in the surrounding air or recently shed in a person’s stool. The research, published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids, adds to growing evidence that the coronavirus can be passed not only through respiratory droplets, but through virus-laden feces, too.

This is just the latest example of ways that the coronavirus has illuminated just how overwhelming the spread of germs in everyday life can be. I think it's safe to say that most people who were overly concerned about handwashing and air-bound droplets of fecal bacteria were typically written off as "germaphobic." And while we knew, scientifically, that credit card machines and concerts and stability bars on trains were all probably gross, they never seemed to be that big of a problem … until this pandemic started, making us all so hyper-aware of transmission.

It's very possible that all of these things will continue to be safe-ish, as long as you practice the very basic due diligence around your own personal sanitation — but the fact that we just don't know, and are suddenly so attuned to our knowledge gaps, is truly astounding. Read the rest

A device for "germ-proof" kissing

In 1910, the National Pharmaceutical Society gave a thumbs up to the Osculatory Screen, a piece of silk in an elegant handle meant to prevent the spread of germs. The device was described as a "disinfected silk gauze through which the kiss is accomplished, the gauze being held in an ivory frame and placed between the two pairs of lips before they meet."

Besides just not working, I think the Osculatory Screen would take quite a bit of the romance of accomplishing a kiss.

Kissing Screen (Weird Universe) Read the rest

Germophobe demonstrates a sanitary way to extinguish birthday candles

Blowing out birthday cake candles the traditional way spreads germs, according to the gentleman in this video. He offers a more sanitary way to extinguishing those candles: by waving your hand over them in a big swoop.

That video was from 2016. Since then, this germophobe sexagenarian has upped his game. In this 2017 video, he demonstrates how to use his method to snuff out a blazing 61 cake candles. Spoiler: It took more than one swoop.

Watch and learn:

photo by Jon Phillips

(reddit) Read the rest

Top 5 filthiest areas in an airplane that can make you sick

People are 113 times more likely to catch a cold when they're on an airplane, according to a 2004 study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research. Why? Because the inside of a plane is a cesspool of germs, that's why. Read the rest