It's Not the 7-Year Itch, It's Your Toilet Seat!

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As you well know, dirty toilet seats can make you sick, pregnant and shamed with all manner of embarrassing social diseases. But what most of us do to keep the seat from becoming a Petri dishes for all that nastiness can give us itches, rashes and other painful skin eruptions.


That's what Ann Pietrangelo blogs on Care2.com. While scrubbing toilet seats with strong cleansers made with harsh chemicals kills germs, those same harsh chemicals are being put in contact with very sensitive skin.

Think about it. If you or your children have an unexplained rash around the upper thighs or buttocks, it may be something called "toilet seat dermatitis." Untreated, it can lead to very painful skin eruptions with a severe itch. The rash can also be caused by wooden toilet seats, especially if they are painted or varnished. Again, sensitive skin on harsh chemicals.

Pietrangelo includes a statement issued by the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

"Most cases of toilet seat dermatitis are mild and easy to treat with topical steroids. However, if not treated properly, the inflammation can persist and spread, causing painful and itchy skin eruptions and unnecessary discomfort for children and parents. Skin that's persistently irritated is vulnerable to bacteria and may lead to more serious infections that require treatment with oral antibiotics."

The agency suggests wooden toilet seats be replaced with plastic ones, and that harsh cleansers containing skin-irritating chemicals be avoided. Adds Pietrangelo:

With so many illnesses and conditions of unknown origin, perhaps we should take a closer look inside the walls of our own homes. In our zeal to provide a clean and healthy environment for our families, we are purchasing a multitude of different cleaning products for our homes, rubbing and scrubbing it on, breathing it in, and putting it right up against our bare skin. Like the foods we put in our bodies, every chemical cleaning agent we expose ourselves to has the potential to make us ill.

Her advice is to seek out alternative cleansers made of natural substances.

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