bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
Khresmoi - new !
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2019: M A M F J
2018: D N O S A J J M

 
  Other news for:
Antibiotics
Infection
Pneumonia
Influenza
Respiration Disorders
Tuberculosis
 Resources from HONselect
Your Showerhead May Be Bathing You in Germs

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- You no doubt think that stepping into your shower will wash away dirt and germs, but a new study shows your showerhead might instead dump nasty bacteria on you that may cause lung infections.

Most people know to keep their bathrooms clean, especially the toilet and sink. But researchers discovered that places in the United States and Europe where germs called mycobacteria are found in abundance in showerheads are the same places where bacterial lung infections are most common. In America, that includes parts of Southern California, Florida and New York.

"We live in a world covered in bacteria, and the bacteria in our showerheads follow some interesting geographic trends, and can be altered by our water source and water chemistry," said study lead author Matthew Gebert.

"We're exposed to microbes constantly in our day-to-day lives, some beneficial, some innocuous and a few potentially harmful," Gebert explained.

He's a research associate at the University of Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

Bacteria thrive in showerheads and water distribution systems. Although most of these bacteria are harmless, some can cause lung infections, he said.

Still, just because mycobacteria live in your showerhead doesn't mean you'll get sick or are more likely to get a respiratory infection, Gebert added.

In fact, researchers can't say that a person with a respiratory infection got it through showering, but understanding the sources of mycobacterial exposure is important.

"We don't want people rushing home and throwing away their showerheads or obsessively cleaning them every day, nor should anyone change their showering habits -- swallowing the water is OK," he said.

For the study, Gebert and his colleagues analyzed showerheads from homes around the United States and Europe, and found an abundance of bacteria. The kind of germs varied by location, and by the chemistry of the water and where it came from.

An interesting finding was that homes whose water was treated with chlorine disinfectants had high concentrations of certain germs, the researchers noted.

The study was published recently in the journal mBio.

"I don't think there are necessarily any negative implications from the study," Gebert said. "But because bacteria that can cause illness live in our showerheads, it's important to understand how people can be exposed to them."

Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, noted that bacteria grow in wet places like showerheads.

"This is a reminder to clean your showerhead, which nobody does," he said, though "most of us are likely to tolerate mycobacteria and not get sick from it."

Bacteria in showerheads won't cause an outbreak of lung infections, but people who are run down or who have a compromised immune system or a chronic condition may be vulnerable, Siegel suggested.

Bacteria also live on your toothbrush and in your sink -- any moist surface, he said.

Siegel recommends cleaning your showerhead every week or two with a disinfectant that contains ammonia to be sure you kill all the germs nesting there.

"Add your showerhead to the list of things in the bathroom that need cleaning," he said.

More information

Visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine for more on mycobacteria.

SOURCES: Matthew Gebert, research associate, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder; Marc Siegel, M.D., clinical professor, medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Oct. 30, 2018, mBio

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=739250

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Infection
Water
Lung
Research Personnel
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact