Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Bad Bacteria Lurk in Rest Stops

Disease-Causing Bacteria Plentiful in Public Restrooms Along America’s Highways
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 6, 2008 -- It may come as no surprise to the travel-wise, but public restrooms along America's highways are indeed a haven for potentially dangerous bacteria.

The latest evidence comes from a study presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Researchers collected swab samples from places people normally touch in public bathrooms, such as restroom door handles, toilet stall handles, toilet flush handles, sink handles, towel dispenser handles, and blow dryer handles, at travel and rest stops along major interstate highways in the Southwest.

Their results showed the presence of many different bacteria, such as staph bacteria and E. coli. MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a difficult to treat type of staph that can cause potentially life-threatening infection, was found in 10 of the 47 samples taken.

"This study emphasizes the importance of washing your hands after using restrooms," says researcher Keith Sternes, PhD, of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, in a news release. "It is advisable for individuals using any public restroom at rest stops or anywhere should carefully and diligently wash their hands and use a towel or other type of device to cover their hands when exiting the restrooms. This would help to prevent recontamination by pathogenic bacteria and lessen the chances of infection of themselves or others."

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing