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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Do you use public drinking fountains?

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    I've recently started birding with two friends who will not touch them. We are usually in city parks, and always on foot, so the weight of carrying water is an issue.

    I used to be a little hesitant about drinking fountains in the park, but I saw so many people using them, I got over it.

    Opinions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
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    4,391
    ...... what do they think is going to happen if they use them...... You encounter millions and millions of germs everyday, public fountains I would guess are probably not a serious source of infections (if you want to be grossed out look into what's usually on money....), not to mention that a few germs aren't necessarily super bad for you, as long as you aren't immune compromised.

    If it's water quality, our public water around here is some of the best in the US AFAIK, so I'm not worried about that either.
    Last edited by Eden; 10-04-2013 at 12:50 PM.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,645
    I mean, as long as you let the water flow for a second or two after you turn it on, it's coming straight out of the pipe anyway. If you're the first one to use it in a few days it can taste pretty nasty (and would probably have enough crud in it from the pipe that I wouldn't make a habit of it), but I don't think there's much danger of that there.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    5,855
    Yes I use public fountains.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

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  5. #5
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    Sep 2007
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    Uncanny Valley
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    It must be time for this again ... although I seem to be the only one who finds it so hilarious. To me it perfectly captures the uniquely American germ phobia, while acknowledging that basic precautions can prevent a lot of infectious disease.

    Last edited by OakLeaf; 10-04-2013 at 01:53 PM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
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    lol - I think that's pretty funny too....

    I'm actually quite a fan of microorganisms as producers of tasty foods - I like yogurt (bacteria), natto (bacteria), cheese (bacteria/fungus), sake (fungus), soy sauce (fungus), pickles (bacteria), miso (fungus), kimchi (bacteria), wine (fungus).... I think I could go on... and on.... yum, microorganisms are tasty
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,213
    I even drink from drinking fountains at the schools where I work.
    Why not? I'm exposed to everything the kids have already.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    I drink from public fountains all the time (actually, I usually refill my water bottle at them - but same difference). I'm all over a university campus and in a hospital. I can't carry all the water I drink in a day, and the other options are 1) dehydration or 2) buying bottles. I'll take my chances.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Their concerns seemed to be 1) dogs drinking from the fountains, and 2) use by people for whom hygiene is problematic (quite a few homeless people live in the parks). Presumably they are worried that a previous user could have left pathogen-laden saliva on the fountain. I pointed out that few diseases are transmitted from dogs to humans, and that I have a robust immune system.

    Outdoor urban water fountains are used by birds a lot -- which is what made me wonder about them in the first place. Pigeons in particular seem to just sit there hoping water will appear. I don't have much knowledge of zoonotic diseases in birds but I know there are some.

    Are Americans uniquely germ-phobic? I've heard there is considerable emphasis on cleanliness in Japan, but don't have personal knowledge of the phenomenon in that (or any other) culture other than my own.

    I am inclined to think if disease transmission via water fountain were a problem, someone would know about it.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2007
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    Uncanny Valley
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    Well ... (and I have shared Holy Communion with people who probably had TB, although this was before today's multi-drug-resistant strains) ... you're not sucking water from the nozzle or lapping it out of the basin, you're drinking from the stream. Once it's flowed for a few seconds, it's rinsed off anything that might've been on the nozzle.

    As far as the Americans thing ... that's just my impression. I don't know much about Japan, but my sister lived there for two years and never mentioned anything of the kind. The way people here go into a national tizzy over reusable shopping bags (heaven forbid we should actually WASH them, just throw them away and use plastic ones!!) or bartenders' garnishes, or whatever the bacteria-ridden common household item du jour happens to be. And never stop to think, if the checkout conveyor belts in grocery stores are really that repulsive, maybe they shouldn't be buying food there at all. In Italy, I've seen workers dip their pails into the same public fountain in which a mother rinsed her infant's pacifier. (but then again, in Italy, you do NOT touch fruit on display to choose the piece you want ... so maybe it's just a cultural thing of which germs people are afraid of?)
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 10-04-2013 at 04:20 PM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  11. #11
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    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    (but then again, in Italy, you do NOT touch fruit on display to choose the piece you want ... so maybe it's just a cultural thing of which germs people are afraid of?)
    I'd be willing to bet that's true, though I can't name examples.

    I think one of these people may be a little germ-phobic in general. I saw a bike light on the road and picked it up to see if it was usable. He asked if I wasn't afraid of germs. I wasn't planning to put it in my mouth.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    I've no problem using water fountains, as others have said we are drinking from the stream anyway.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
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    What these people should be scared of is going near a "sanitary" hospital...full of staph infections. That's terrifying!
    Kirsten
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Sillycon Valley, California
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    4,869
    I have no issues using public water fountains. My dog refuses to use public doggie water fountains, she turns her nose up at them as if to say "Ick, dog spit".

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
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    2,608
    Wow American loving natto. blachhh and I spent part of my childhood in Japan. I was born there first generation Japanese.

    Water out of the fountain in Central Park NY, I always put my hand over the fixture and washed off the fixture with water turned on, waited two seconds or so before drinking from it. Even then I'm bit weary. I've seen too many dogs licking the fountain fixture... yewww!!! I only drink from it in dire need.

    Back to the stinky stinky natto. My sister used to put it on her hot bowl of rice to really stink it up. It was the only thing she could use to get to my sensibility. I had to leave the area. Hate that stuff. Sticky, hate the texture, color looks like poop and did I mention its STINKY!!

    So I'm in the minority.

    My mother is germ-phobic. I guess I am too to some extent. I often use peroxide on counter after handling chicken, meat, fish...

 

 

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