If you’re tempted to borrow your partner’s towel next time you’re in the bathroom and have forgotten to grab your own, don’t bother.
According to a poll by bathroom company Drench, more than 56% of couples said they have shared a used towel with their partner, but other research shows that this easy-breezy approach to sharing could potentially make you sick.
A towel may seem harmless to the eye – after all, they’re used for drying off when you’ve just got squeaky clean, however Dr Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona found that 90% of towels harbour nasty bacteria and germs that easily be can be passed from person-to-person.
And in the face of a norovirus outbreak, with cases of this winter vomiting bug more than doubling over the last year – it pays to be extra-vigilant about germs.
Norovirus is a nasty stomach bug and although it can be caught any time of the year, it’s more common in winter.
The main symptoms of norovirus are nausea, being sick and diarrhoea. But you may also have a very high temperature (38C or above), a headache and aching limbs.
Norovirus symptoms start suddenly within 1 to 2 days of being infected. Although you should start to feel better after a few days, the NHS advise staying out of contact with others until symptoms have stopped for two days.
As well as limiting sharing, you should change your towel at least once a week. They should be washed at 60° to prevent the spread of germs and after daily use, don’t let damp towels linger in a heap on the floor as this becomes the perfect home for the germs to breed. Try to dry towels by opening them up, and avoid shaking towels before washing as the norovirus easily becomes airborne.