Sometimes reality hits us in a manner, we are left floundering. The things we believed to be facts, get altered in new light only to be mere beliefs. For instance, I always thought a shower is forever a good idea. If I am not feeling so great, my remedy involved a quick shower and let it get wash away. This was working wonderfully for me till the germs that had a cozy home in my shower came tumbling down and busted my shower bubble. Yes, you better believe it; it’s true, many bacteria find a home in our shower heads.
And let me tell you, this news is stale. It initially came in 2009 when a research conducted by University of Colorado found that in most showerheads a host of bacteria were prevailing. After all the dark, damp, warm atmosphere in showerheads is an ideal ground for many microorganisms. So much so that the thick sticky layer (gunk) found in the showers is more like a ‘Biofilm’. By that it’s not any self-movie, it means a layer of mucilage which has communities of bacteria playing home in it. In such a case when we stand below the jet of the shower, we end up spraying ourselves with numerous bacteria’s. Many of them are small enough to get inhaled in the process and that provides them a free ride to our lungs and other parts.
The most commonly found bacteria in that biofilm is Mycobacterium Avium, which is pretty much everywhere else as well like soil, air, water. So there isn’t really any avoiding it. Other bacteria found are the NTM (Nontuberculous Mycobacteria) which creates pulmonary diseases like tuberculosis (but not exactly, and it’s not contagious). The other health hazard that may arise although in fewer numbers is Legionella Bacteria, which can cause a condition like pneumonia. These bacteria’s may lead to skin infections, gastrointestinal infections as well.
Now if you were holding your breath, then relax, here comes the good part. Most of these bacteria’s aren’t really harmful. In a healthy person, there is no need to be scared and you may continue to shower. However, for people with pre-existing conditions like AIDS, chronic respiratory diseases, or compromised immune systems can get badly affected by these bacteria. It is people like these that shower may do damage to their frail health. In such cases, it is best advised to take bath and forego the shower at least for time being.
Apart from that, if you don’t like the idea of being swamped by bacteria when taking a shower and aren’t keen on ditching it altogether, you may leave the shower running for about 30 to 60 seconds, before you get into it. This practice will help you evade most of the bacteria. Also, researchers believe that metal showers are better than plastic ones in this regard. Lastly, next time you clean your shower, don’t just clean the surface, you can clean your shower head as well thoroughly, this will terminate some of the bacteria families surviving in the shower camp.
Going through this knowledge wasn’t easy and I think I am not ready to bid goodbye to my shower just yet. What about you?