toilet work and infectious diseases

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by renter, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. renter

    renter New Member

    Oct 14, 2007
    I fiddled with the toilet in my apartment. The setup has not been in good repair for some time.

    I was not wearing gloves. My hands became smeared with not only the
    grease of the wax ring but also a lot of decaying fecal matter from the same area.

    Even though I scrubbed up well, I am very worried about illnesses I might have contracted from this exposure.

    Note that I scraped my knuckle -- slightly but enough to draw some blood -- during this process, and also that the skin around my nails is quite ragged.

    I have been the only person to use this toilet for the past two years. The wax ring, however, was already deteriorated and no doubt had been failing and allowing fecal and other matter to enter and fester long before I came along.

    The material I encountered was greasy and moist. It only had a faint fecal odor, but it was plainly made up of more than only wax and mildew. It makes sense that any matter deposited in the toilet would have been able to seep into that space.

    None of the instruction sites I had visited warned of such an infiltration, though one did have a photograph of some fungal growth on a wax ring.

    I currently plan to contact the Department of Public Health in the morning. It will probably be difficult to get them to understand the state of the matter I encountered (neither exposed directly to air nor actually submerged in water) and other aspects of the nature of it, as they most likely will not be familiar with the anatomy of toilets.

    I came to this forum by way of a thread that mentioned, "One scratch of the finger replacing a wax ring on a toilet could lead to hepatitis . . . ."

    Please share with me any information, advice, and insight you have.

    There's no need, though, to comment on my stupidity. I feel ridiculous enough already.

    Thank you very much for your help.
  2. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Apr 18, 2005
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    Here's a good example of the seriousness

    A wood floor finisher I know personally had been in and out of his profession for a number of health problems unrelated to what he embarked upon in resetting a couple toilets.

    His job was removing 2 toilets, lay a new floor, finish them and reset the toilets.

    This was his first job back in quite some time....and figured it was like all the other jobs he did involving the removal of toilets.

    His immune system though had a different point of view:

    When he reset those toilets after the wood floor was done, he installed the toilets that were dry, but dirty. He had real fine cuts in his hands that weren't visible to the eye but you'd know they was there if salt got on the hands. Like a paper cut but finer.

    The day after he installed those toilets, he started feeling sick, real sick.

    He couldn't get out of bed by the 3rd day, was rushed to the hospital. Mind you, he didn't wear gloves when he reset the toilets.

    He contracted a blood infection that damn near killed him if he wouldn't of arrived at the hospital 12 hours later. They instantly hooked him to a machine and pumped the strongest antibiotics through his bloodstream like a person with diabetes would need a dialosis sp? machine to clean the blood of all the toxins the body produces.

    He spent a week in the hospital feeling like he was brought to death. Indirectly in this situation a sack of fluid developed under his scrotum on the inner leg that became huge, which had to be surgically removed.

    His lack of being around what was common at one time for him nabbed his immune system quite well. That's why plumbers are more resilient to the nature of this because our bodies build a defense system to it as well. I haven't replaced/repaired a toilet without gloves in 18 years and I feel pretty good about that record of all the gloves I bought and protected myself.

    No matter what, there's no reversal of fortune at this point. If you are going to get sick......there's no way to turn it around. Hopefully you don't but I wouldn't advise such a ridiculous act again.

    The guy above doesn't reset toilets anymore; he has the customer locate a plumber (thank goodness it's not me; been there done that and the guy never brings the flanges up above the wood floor, idiot) to remove and replace it so he doesn't have to be exposed.

    But if he runs that wood floor right up to that old wax ring and still has cuts on his hands, still not wearing gloves when exposed to the nasty stuff.....he's still capable of getting deathly sick.

    That ole' discussion about feces from a HIV/AIDS patient about exposure to air is still a huge undecided statement. They say once it comes in contact with air it's safe. I disagree totally as I want no part of that situation, ever.

    A bloody stool is a horrible contaminate along with many other bodily fluids that transfer germs/disease.

    Makes me want to go fix a rootbeer float and put chocolate raisins in it and enjoy.


    mm good
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  4. molo

    molo Member

    Sep 23, 2006
    Cold New York
    settle down, that's the immune system's first line of defense.
  5. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Apr 18, 2005
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area

    What? The rootbeer float with raisins? I knew it.
  6. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    If it dont kill ya , it only makes you stronger..

    I would not worry yourself to death about this,,,

    unless you have nothing else better to do ......

    perhaps in hospitals and in other public places it would be
    very wise to be more concerned ......

    the odds are not that high .....probably like hitting the lottery....

    I never have worn gloves, but really probably should....

    we used to clean out kitchen drains all the time to..

    and thats even worse..

    I knew of one old plumber who would
    use his pocket knife to scrape off the
    wax ring from a flange ...then use the same knife at lunch to cut his apple..............

    I suppose you get used to what ever you do every day..

    though its probably best to get into the habit of wearing gloves.

    I play the the lottery and could always hit that some day too...

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2007
  7. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oct 7, 2005
    In your line of work, you all should really be getting the vaccinations for all the big diseases. To name two: Hepatitis and Meningitis, and throw in a flu and pneumonia shot for good measure.

    To Renter: I would think if anything happens, you will probably get a staph infection on your finger, or wherever the cuts are at. This will be obvious to you, as it will swell and hurt like hell. If that happens, just go to the ER and they will culture it and put you on meds. All will then be fine. Don't worry, just do what you have to do.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2007
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