This Christmas I learned about a seemingly popular gift, at least in my network: Poo-pourri. Poo-pourri is sort of the equivalent of pre-exposure prophylaxis against...the stench of feces.
One sprays the liquid into the toilet bowl prior to use and the oils contained in the substance neutralize/mask the odor.
Since my writing is ostensibly educational, a few facts:
- The sulfur-containing products of intestinal bacterial are what produce the characteristic odor
- The repertoire of different bacteria present in one's stool is severely altered, for the long term, by antibiotic use for -- a phenomenon that explains how C.diff infection occurs and the rationale for fecal transplantation for severe or recurrent cases
- A toilet can serve as a rocket launcher for fecal bacteria creating a toilet plume, though this is not thought to be an infection risk (with one caveat below)
- The Flush Heard Round the World: during the SARS pandemic in 2003, a SARS-infected visitor to a large residential housing complex in Hong Kong experienced diarrhea and his flush created an aerosal the sparked hundreds of cases (see my take on a recent paper on this topic)
Proctologists have nothing on infectious diseases physicians.