6 Tips When Using a Drinking Water Fountain

A water fountain.

A drinking water fountain is a wonderful respite on hot summer days. These public devices are most often seen in schools, playgrounds, and parks. They provide people free access to drinking water, but can also contribute to the spread of diseases and illnesses. To keep drinking water fountains safe, there are a few useful tips you can follow.

1. Inspect the Drinking Fountain Before Use

Though drinking water fountains usually carry safe drinking water, the surfaces of the fountains themselves are often highly contaminated with germs, bacteria, and viruses.

One reason for this is that some drinking water fountains are located outdoors and constantly exposed to the elements. But the major reason is that many different people use these fountains and leave illness-causing bacteria behind. Though you cannot see these bacteria, it is a good idea to inspect the fountain thoroughly before using it. If it is visibly dirty or grimy looking, you are better off avoiding it altogether.

2. Run the Water for a Few Seconds Before Drinking

Before helping yourself to water from a public drinking water fountain, make it a point to run the water for a few seconds. This will flush away most of the dirt and some of the germs on the uppermost surface, thereby making it safer for you to use. However, this is not a foolproof method of avoiding germs.

3. Never Sneeze or Spit in the Fountain

Never use a drinking water fountain for any purpose other than drinking water. Avoid using it to wash your belongings as it can be inconvenient to people waiting to use it after you. Never spit or sneeze in a drinking water fountain. If you need to, use a washroom for this purpose.

4. Avoid Using the Drinking Fountain if You are Ill

The best way of avoiding the spread of disease-causing germs is to avoid drinking water fountains when you are feeling unwell. Several diseases can be passed around when people use these devices when they are feeling ill. Common influenza is one of the diseases that is spread most easily by improper use of drinking water fountains.

5. Never Let Your Pets Use Drinking Fountains Meant for People

Avoid letting your dog or cat drink water from a public drinking water fountain, unless it is specifically meant for use by animals. In addition to spreading germs, animals can shed their fur and dander onto the fountain. This is highly inconvenient for other people, especially young children who are more susceptible to infectious diseases.

6. Avoid Touching the Spigot with a Cup, Bottle or Your Mouth

When you are drinking water from a water fountain, you must keep your mouth away from the spigot. If you are collecting water in a bottle or container, ensure that its rim is not in contact with the spigot, either.

These steps go a long way in reducing the spread of disease by way of contact between contaminated surfaces.