News from Reuters Health – Do you suffer from more lung infections or irritations than usual? Are you suffering from an undetermined cough?
Your showerhead may harbor dangerous germs and be affecting you. Researchers have discovered that showerheads may harbor 100 times the normal amount of an infection causing bacterium, Microbacterium Avium.
One researcher stated, “water spurting from showerheads can distribute pathogen-filled droplets that suspend themselves in the air and can easily be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs.”
If you have a healthy immune system, you will be most likely unaffected. However, if you are immunocompromised, you may risk getting a lung infection.
Quoted from Reuters article, statement by researcher Norman Pace: “If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy.”
That means that while showering, you may be covering yourself with and breathing in tiny droplets of bacteria laden water.
The Study by the University of Colorado involved 50 showerheads taken from nine U.S. cities, including New York, Denver and Chicago. 30% carried very high amounts of bacterium. The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.
If you are immuno-compromised, they recommend changing shower heads occasionally.
If we were concerned, we might remove showerheads and soak them in a bleach solution, spray them with isopropyl or grain alcohol, or wash them in very hot soapy water.
Whether this actually would kill most or all of the bacteria has not been proven. However, changing showerheads frequently may not be an option for a number of people.
Additionally, we do believe it’s always best to turn on the shower water first and letting it run a few seconds before getting in.
Again, healthy individuals should have little concern. This bacterium exists in regular tap water, but high concentrations might pose a danger to those who have compromised immune systems or are more susceptible to lung infections.
If you have any questions or are having any breathing or other health issues, of course it is recommended that you consult with your physician.