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How to stay safe from the 'toilet cloud plume' during coronavirus outbreak

Maybe you've never heard of such a plume. But during this coronavirus outbreak, we need to know about it.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Ever heard of the toilet cloud plume?  "It is gross," says Dr. Greg Poland, Mayo's infectious disease expert at Mayo Clinic Rochester.

"It's what's produced when you flush the toilet...effectively distributing whatever on EVERYTHING in that washroom," he says.

Dr. Poland calls the public restroom "the most dangerous place you can go in public." 

So 4 tips to protect yourself from the coronavirus in the bathroom:

1) Dr. Poland says it's a good idea to flush the toilet with your foot and turn away as quickly as possible.  Don't face the toilet when you flush.

2) Never touch the faucet or the door handles, Dr. Poland says. "Do not do it. It's grossly contaminated with fecal bacteria." 

3) Don't use a hand dryer because it blows germs around. 

4) To be extra picky, don't touch the part of the dangling toilet paper somebody else just touched.

Credit: FCN
First Coast News' Jeannie Blaylock avoiding "the plume."

Dr. Poland says, "Is it possible there's coronavirus on the end of the toilet paper?  Yes, if that person grabbed the toilet paper and ripped it" and they recently sneezed or wiped their nose.

Dr. Poland says "the coronavirus can persist" on the toilet paper.

For the latest updates on the virus and its impact on the First Coast, follow this live blog and join our Facebook group, Facts Not Fear: Your Coronavirus Questions Answered.

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