BOSTON (CBS) – It’s no longer a dirty secret.

Experts are releasing their findings on research they did on the amount of germs found in public restrooms.

And it’s pretty disgusting.

Researchers say they studied “high-touch areas” in a “variety of public restrooms and commercial aircraft” from December 2010 through February 2011.

Read: Study Findings

They found public bathrooms are heavily contaminated with microbes that can make you sick.

In some cases, there were so many microscopic bugs, they couldn’t count all of them.

The worst areas were door handles and faucets of airplane restrooms and restaurant bathrooms.

Dr. David Wellman, a microbiologist at Stanford University, said you can’t run away from them.

“They’re found on every surface of our body, both inside and outside. They’re found all over the skin, in every pore and nook and cranny. They’re found in highest density in the gut, where they are probably more dense in number than any place on the planet,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Matt Ledin talks to Dr. Wellman

“We have such a stable, robust, dense community of organisms within the human body that it’s actually acquired the ability to resist invasion from outsiders. So, although there are some threats from the outside world, one of our principal defenses against that is the ability of our own communities to defend themselves against invasion by outsiders, by intruders.”

WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud reports

So what do you do to protect yourself?

After you wash your hands, try not to touch anything else in the bathroom. For example, use a paper towel to cover the door handle of the restroom as you leave.

The full report will be presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in Boston on Friday.


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