Shower Heads and Immune Systems

An article caught my eye in our local newspaper here in Central PA, USA.  It was about the fact that showerheads may harbor bad germs, and how that can be harmful for people who don’t have a healthy immune sytem.

So the showerheads can spary these tiny bacteria into your face when you shower.  If you have a normal immune system, you should not worry.  However, the people that should be concerned are those with illnesses like AIDS or cystic fibrosis, in cancer treatment, or who have had a recent organ transplant.  These are significant numbers of the population.

The discovery came from researchers at the University of Colorado who did a study where they tested showers in five states.  There is risk here but primarily for those who don’t have healthy immune systems.  One suggestion is to get an all-metal showerhead because the microbes have a harder time clinging to them.  It is important to clean showerheads as well although that can be hard to do with the hard to reach surfaces and crevices, and also the microbes come back even after the surfaces are treated with bleach.

Want to know what the bugs in question are?  Mycobacterium avium is the name, and they have been linked to lung disease in some people.  If you have a filtered showerhead, changing it weekly is advised.  Also, baths don’t spread the microbes into the air the same as showerheads.

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