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Risk of transmitting germs by wearing poop contaminated dress.

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Hi, thank you so much for reading. So the other day I ran into a public bathroom stall at an airport and pooped (I was in a hurry and the stall was kinda dark). To my great horror, I realized only after getting done that there was already some (a small amount) of blackish poop on the toilet seat itself that was not mine. Which meant I sat on someone's poop.

Anyway, I had a plane to catch so I ran out. There was nothing much I could do about it at that time.

When I got back home, I showered. I threw away my jeans and underwear, but before throwing them out I took them off and absent mindedly put them inside out on my carpet. Since I walk around barefoot a lot in my room, and have stepped on that part of the carpet, I feel like my bed is contaminated too. As are the things I take to my bed, etcetera etcetera. I'm basically freaking out and I can't stand the thought of the germs from someone else's poop all over my stuff and room.

I've had a history of OCD, so I want to know if is this a legitimate cause of concern (because I know that fecal matter spreads so many life threatening diseases) or am I freaking out more than necessary because of a variant of a contamination OCD?

Also, I'm not afraid of catching a disease myself. I have a fairly decent immune system. But I'm afraid that I may spread the disease to immunocompromised people through my clothes and belongings. for instance, I am playing a show at a place for really sick children. Many of them may be immunocompromised. I really don't want to harm them by being a vector of germs from poop! Is this a valid concern for this particular situation?

How many "instances" of transfer of pathogens can happen in such cases? By this I mean if the poop from the seat reached my thighs and then my jeans, and then my jeans touched my bed, and then I lay on the bed after a shower, are there enough pathogens left on my bed to make me "dirty"?

I'm having a lot of anxiety right now so I can't think straight. I would love an opinion on this topic.

And thank you so very much.


PS: I would also like for this consultation to NOT be published online. Thanks a lot!

Category: Infectious Disease Specialist

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 25 Doctors Online

Thank you for your query at
Firstly let me reassure you this won't be published anywhere.
I completely understand your concern, it all happened too fast, and you had no other alternative. Moreover the black stool was gross, and the thoughts that you have been having is natural.
But after going through your entire history, if i have to address your primary concern, of first getting a lot of germs being in contact with that black poop, and then transferring it on to immunocompromised people is not possible. Because firstly it is extremely difficult for the germs to be transmitted by sitting over someone else's poop. I mean it is definitely possible, but it came in contact with your skin, and skin is an extrmely tough and resistant organ. Yes i would have worried if there was any open lesion such as any cuts, or mucosa tears, through which still there is some chance of infection passing on.
Then after you removed your jeans and underwear, you put it on your carpet and absent mindedly stepped on it. Even here there is no chance of spread of any infection.
So yes i will say, it is a part of your anxiety issue and you should not be so freaked out. There is no legit cause of concern. I can assure you that.
And don't worry the pathogens won't go to your bed like that. You should not be worried, and you will definitely not pass on the infection to anyone.
Please relax,

Patient replied :

Dear Dr. Sebastian,
Thank you very much for your reply. I want to follow up with a similar question involving a public bathroom and sanitation.
Yesterday when I walked into my college bathroom, I found that the toilet pot was filled with what appeared to be blood. An enormous amount -- please see the images attached below. By the time I saw that, I had already stepped on some of it that was on the floor. This time though, I did not throw away my flip flops and I continue to wear them right now. I am again worried about infecting my room, etcetera and of catching HIV/hepatitis B or C through the cute/sores below my feet by walking barefoot in my room.
Now, I understand that I can just get tested for the diseases in a while to find out if I have them, but again is there a way to ensure that I don't spread the contamination to the immunocompromised children I will be performing for? Will washing my flip flops and jeans in my college's washer be enough? Is it okay to let the carpet of my room be after walking over it with the flip flops?
Thank you very much for your time.

Thank you for the follow up.

Yes i have seen the images that you sent, and its really strange to see a toilet which actually has something like that. It does appear like blood.

Again i can reassure you, you don't have any chance of catching any infection.
Hepatitis B/C can be spread only when you receive contaminated blood products as a part of donation. So please don't worry about passing it on to anyone else.

I appreciate the fact that you're actually so concerned about the community. But you won't spread the infection to them.
Yes washing them in the college washer will be enough.
And yes there is no need to change the carpet even. Infections don't spread like that. Rather the dust in the carpet can give you allergies. Other than that there is nothing to be concerned about.
Please do not worry about this matter anymore.

Hope i have been helpful,

Patient replied :

Dear Dr. Sebastian,
Thank you once again for your reply. I'm really grateful for your patience. I do have anxiety and OCD, so your replies are very helpful to me in deciding whether my problems are a result of my OCD or if they are medically legitimate causes of concern. I have one last incident I want your help with, and I hope that you can help me with it.
I just used my college's bathroom stall to poop (again! I don't really have another option). I was using my right hand to pull out toilet paper and hold my t shirt up, and left hand to wipe. Only too late into my wiping did I realize that there were some dried brown stains (presumably of feces) near the toilet paper dispenser that I had certainly touched with my right hand.
I finished wiping, and then (for lack of a better option) used my right hand to hold my t shirts and pull up/button my shorts. I washed my hands vigorously after that.
The problem is, I feel like throwing away my shorts and t shirt now because I feel like they have been contaminated by the feces. I know that this is the "cleanest" option. My question is: should I throw them away or should I toss them in the washer? I'm confused whether throwing them away would simply be good hygiene or whether it would be an overreaction/compulsion.
As earlier, my main fear is not infecting myself, but infecting a group of really sick (and perhaps immunocompromised) children I will be performing music for a few days from now.
Am I being obsessive-compulsive, or just careful and responsible? I don't want to regret throwing my clothes away and thinking I gave into OCD again. If this would indeed be an unnecessary compulsion, giving into this would only worsen my OCD in the long run. But nor do I want to be irresponsible and cause harm because of poor hygiene.
Thank you so very much for your patience.

Please do not worry about the number of questions. I am happy to answer all your doubts. I really appreciate the fact that you are so concerned about the community and that shows you're definitely very responsible.
Yes there is an OCD part involved. Since you washed your hand you're not going to be affected in any way.
However regarding your clothes, there can be chances of infection ( very slim ), so it is better you get them thoroughly washed. But i understand it may be too gross for you, and in that sense if you feel like, you can throw your clothes. From hygiene point of view, once you get them washed they will be clean and there is no chance of spreading infection to anyone.
Hope this was helpful,

Patient replied :

Dear Dr. Sebastian,
Thank you very much yet again. I washed my clothes, and now I will continue to wear them.
Are the chairs I sat on and the computers I used while wearing those clothes contaminated? Or are they, like you said about the carpet in my first question, okay to sit on/use and touch?
Thank You very much for all your help. You are truly a kind and patient doctor!

Thank you for your appreciation.
Yes they are all okay to use.
Germs can't be passed on like that and it definitely won't infect anyone else.
Wish you very good health,
Kind Regards.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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