Dr Thoguluva Shesadri Chandrasekar, Consultant Gastroenterologist receiving a national award from the President of India
The general public has been advised to be twice careful in the use of public toilets, the toilets in offices and even toilets at homes as, the effluent from an infected or even recently healed sufferer of COVID-19 or Coronavirus flushed faeces, could settle on the body of a new entrant about to use the toilet and could later be ingested unconsciously through the nose or eyes, thus getting infected in the process.
Apart from hand washing, maintaining of social distancing, and observing cough and sneeze etiquette, observance of healthy toilet hygiene had also been stressed in view of the fact that COVID-19 also affects the gastrointestinal tract.
Hence, Gastroenterologists have advised that one allows reasonable time to pass, before using the toilet and also endeavour to sanitize the seat before seating to emptying one’s bowels as a means to prevent contracting of the ubiquitous and deadly Coronavirus.
An internationally renowned Gastroenterologist and Surgeon, Dr Thoguluva Shesadri Chandrasekar, who is also the immediate Past President, Indian Society Of Gastroenterology, gave the suggestion during one of his recent joint presentation titled, “COVID-19’s Gut Connection”.
In the submission, he revealed that “50% of COVID-19 patients were present with digestive symptoms and the patients readily shed the virus in their stools” hence, he advised that everyone who uses either private or public toilet to, “ensure closure of commode lid before flushing to avoid bio-aerosols and also avoid lavatory usage immediately after use by another person”
The presentation which was jointly done by Dr Chandrasekar T. S. and Dr K. Raja Yogesh, both Gastroenterologists, submitted that scientific studies had proven that, apart from nasal and respiratory secretions, the COVID-19 virus is actively shed in the stools of infected patients and the shedding may occur in the patient’s stools for about five weeks after the patient might have recovered from the respiratory symptoms.
They went on to proffer a word of caution that, apart from the known measures such as avoidance of close contacts, social distancing, observing cough and sneeze hygiene etiquette and wearing personal protective gear, the importance of a proper handwashing protocol especially after bowel movement must be observed.
Chandrasekar T. S. added that since there is every likely-hood of bio-aerosols being released in the air during flushing of the toilet- toilet effluent plummets- it is advisable to the one who has finished using the toilet to ensure that the commode lid is closed before flushing. And to the person just about to use the toilet, he advised such person should avoid the use of lavatory immediately after it was used by another person, as a conscious way to reduce exposure to the virus.
He posited that “since infected individuals may be asymptomatic and testing everyone is not feasible, it will be wise to assume that everyone is infected and as such, universal adoption of the suggested basic toilet hygiene would go a long way in breaking the chain of COVID-19 infection on the world population”.
Thoguluva Shesadri Chandrasekar, an Indian gastroenterologist and the founder, chairman of Medindia Hospitals, a healthcare facility based in Chennai, gave statistics of the symptoms COVID-19 presents on patients by saying that, “scientific data revealed that 50% of COVID-19 patients present with predominant digestive symptoms as their primary complaint.
The statistics on the digestive symptoms they chronicled as; Lack of appetite- 83.3%, Loose stools- 29.3%, Vomiting- 0.8%, Abdominal pain- 0.4%. They submitted that there are other patients with coexisting respiratory complaints and about 3% are with only digestive symptom without any respiratory symptoms.
** 50% of COVID-19 patients present with digestive symptoms.
** Infected patients actively shed the virus in the stools.
** Proper handwashing protocol must be stressed after every bowel movement.
** Ensure closure of commode lid before flushing to avoid bio-aerosols.
** Avoid lavatory use immediately after usage by another person.
About Dr T.S. Chandrasekar
Dr Thoguluva Shesadri Chandrasekar had a brilliant academic career. He was the Best Outgoing Student in his MBBS at Madurai Medical College with 14 Gold Medals. He did his MD (Medicine) and DM (Gastroenterology) from the most prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. Dr Chandrasekar has been honoured with the most prestigious Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (FRCP – Glasgow). The award was conferred to him at Glasgow, the UK on Wednesday, the 22nd July 2009
DR Raja K. Yogesh
Dr Raja Kalamegam Yogesh is a doctor of medicine. He works with Medindia Hospitals as Gastroenterology consultant. He is also a director and consultant at ResearchGate, a medical consulting firm that is committed to supporting the researchers and organizations across the world who are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic