What's The Risk Of Using A Hand Dryer In A Public Restroom?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.

What's The Risk Of Using A Hand Dryer In A Public Restroom?
Dave Franco

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Sabrina Axelrod asks: 

"If you’re in a public bathroom, should you use a hand dryer? And what is the risk?"

Newsy asked the experts: Jason Farley, professor of nursing, infectious disease-trained nurse epidemiologist and nurse practitioner in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing and Medicine; Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention, HCA Continental Division; and Dr. Mary Schmidt, president of Schmidt and Libby Health Advisory Group, board-certified infectious diseases doctor, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and clinical faculty at the Northern Virginia Inova. 

Their take — contracting COVID-19 from a hand dryer is medium risk. 

"It's better than taking your wet hands and touching a door handle if there's no towel there to grab a towel to open the door and dry your hands with. I do agree probably taking a paper towel would be better at this point, not using that. But that's all you have. It's better than potentially wiping your hands on your clothes and having somebody who's a carrier walk by you and your clothes being contaminated," Schmidt said. 

"Just clean your hands. It's the most important thing that you can do to prevent infection. And, you know, if you're touching the environment, you're touching really anything. Just make sure that your hands are clean before you touch your face, eyes, nose, mouth, so that you don't potentially infect yourself," Cary said.

 If you have a question about your risk, email a video question to whatstherisk@newsy.com.