I know how you are. You hold it in until you get home. You think pooping in public is gross. Whatever! I'm just the opposite! I'll gladly do the deed in public (OK, not in public, but in a public restroom) and share the love with strangers. Meijer, Lowe's, the Chevy dealership -- all fair game.

And then there's work. You're going to pay me to do THAT? Awesome!

But a public 'download' doesn't have to be a parade of germs. You may think -- maybe your mom gave you this advice -- that covering the toilet seat with toilet paper is a good way to put a barrier between bacteria and your bare butt. Experts now say that's a load of poop.

Dr. Philip Tierno, Ph.D., clinical professor in the departments of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, says the surface of the average toilet seat repels bacteria.

"In fact, the top of a toilet seat is much cleaner than most people's kitchen sinks," Tierno tells Self.

He goes on to say that STDs like herpes are rarely ever found on toilet seats and that bacteria die off pretty quickly. Tierno notes that the virus can't live outside the body for more than 10 seconds and neither can chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Turns out, if you're covering the seat with toilet paper you're probably exposing yourself to more bacteria than you would if you just sat on the seat. Tierno says that flushing actually sends fecal particles into the air, potentially onto the toilet paper. At home, you can flush with the lid closed, but probably not when you're out.

But here's a bit of good news. You've probably been wiping with potentially contaminated toilet paper all your life without even knowing it and without serious consequences.

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