Which Bacteria Are Most Common in School Restrooms?

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As we go into a brand-new school year, it’s time to consider how we will keep our kids safe from the common germs that lurk inside of school restrooms. Vaccines, sanitizing protocols, and the unconscious habit of washing our hands throughout the day can help prevent these germs from lingering. We’re wired to do those things, but do we fully understand which bacteria are most common in school restrooms? Here is a further breakdown of the three most common types and what to know about them.

Streptococcus

Commonly known as strep throat, streptococcus is an inflammation of the throat and tonsils. Interestingly, there are multiple different strands of streptococcus, two of which cause strep throat. If left untreated, it can cause serious illnesses, such as scarlet fever and toxic shock syndrome.

To diagnose strep throat in children, a primary care doctor with either perform a rapid test or throat culture. A rapid test looks for antigens that trigger an immune response, whereas a throat culture is a 24-hour to 48-hour test that swabs the throat for strep bacteria. The throat culture is a more accurate way to diagnose children with strep throat.

In order to stop the spread, you should wash your hands often and avoid touching any parts of your face after you’ve touched any tainted surfaces. Also, when a child sneezes or coughs, ensure they cover their mouth with their elbow or grab a tissue. Don’t share drinks or eating utensils with someone who has strep throat. Strep throat is treated with antibiotics and bed rest.

Campylobacter

Campylobacter is a diarrheal illness that’s contracted from consuming undercooked food or contaminated water. The most common symptoms are bloody diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. The symptoms typically start two to five days after a person has been infected. Although the illness lasts about a week, lasting effects can occur, such as arthritis and temporary paralysis. These bacteria can multiply in the bloodstream and may cause a life-threatening infection in individuals with weaker immune systems.

To diagnose this illness, you’ll need to get lab work done. Treatment often includes antibiotics, and you’ll need to ensure the sick individual drinks plenty of fluids for as long as the diarrhea lasts. In order to prevent campylobacter, water maintenance must be conducted in bathrooms to ensure everything is updated and no odors are coming from the faucets.

E. coli

This is a common strain of bacteria that makes the news every year. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. E. coli can be found in swimming pools, sinks, or undercooked food. To prevent E. coli, cook food all the way through and ensure proper water maintenance.

Many places, like daycare centers, are infested with germs. Understanding which bacteria are most common in school restrooms is the best way to remain safe and healthy. Upon knowing this information, you’ll be ready to disinfect and practice basic hygiene daily.