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Dirty Showerheads & Bacteria | Medilogy
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Dirty Showerheads & Bacteria

Who knew that your shower could be covering you with a dose of bacteria? Ironically, a new study shows that many showerheads are dirty and might be covering you up with bacteria, which can cause sickness.

A research of fifty showerheads from nine different U.S. cities showed that about 15 showerheads or 30 percent of them contained high levels of Mycobacterium avium which when inhaled or consumed cause lung infections.  These researchers from University of Colorado stated that the amount of Mycobacterium avium found in these showerheads was almost 100 times higher than the number found in household water.

Norman Pace, a researcher, stated, “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.”

Mycobacterium avium causes pulmonary diseases, which exhibit many common symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, and lasting drug cough.  It usually attacks people with deteriorated immune system, but it may sometimes infect others that are healthy.

Pace believes that the increase in pulmonary diseases from “non-tuberculosis” mycobacteria may be caused by people engaging in more showers and fewer baths.  As the showerhead sprays out the water, droplets filled with pathogens linger within the air causing one to inhale the pathogens into the deepest parts of their lungs.  The Mycobacterium avium are able to survive within the showerheads because of the warm, dim, and moist insides where the bacteria are able to form “biofilms.”

Although this might have little to no effect on healthy people, researchers recommend people with deteriorated immune systems to use metal showerheads and replace them as frequently as possible.  “This really shouldn’t concern average, healthy people.  The main concern is for people who are immune-compromised,” researcher Leah Feazel told Reuters Health.

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