Cleaning the bathroom is one of the most tedious household chores anyone has to do because not only does the bathroom never seem to stay clean, especially if you have kids, but because there's so much to clean! While you may think you are giving your bathroom a good scrub you may be missing one very important area while doing your cleaning. A new study is showing that potentially dangerous bacteria can be living in your showerhead so now there's one more thing to add to your cleaning list.
A study done by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that over time, thanks to the warm and humid conditions of a typical shower, a biofilm can form on your showerhead. While most of the bacteria contained in that film are typically harmless, some of the 656 households that participated in the study were found to have traces of a bacteria called mycobacteria which can, in turn, cause nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) lung infection. This bacteria can become quite dangerous when it's inhaled.
“The concern about the showerhead is that it does what we call aerosolize, so it makes it in the air. We just breathe in the shower, and you would potentially be breathing in these organisms, and that’s how they would get into the lungs,” Dr. Barbara Keber, MD, chair of family medicine at Northwell Health’s Glen Cove Hospital in New York said, reports Healthline.
More recently Inside Edition took 22 swabs from 11 different showerheads and again found the same bacteria that could cause lung infections. Renee Diaz, a mother who volunteered to have her showerheads tested, was shocked to learn the results. "That's really scary, and I have kids," she noted of the results. She also mentioned that she had been experiencing fatigue, fever and night sweats, all of which are symptoms of a possible lung infection. "I've gone to the doctor and never thought that could be from my shower ever in a million years," she said.
Lara Alcantara is another mother who participated in the study and like most people, didn't even think that the showerhead was something she needed to worry about. "I'm a pretty clean person," she said. "I would have never thought there would have been fungus or any other crazy bacteria on the showerhead."
Microbiologist Joseph Falkingham, who oversaw the testing for Inside Edition, said people should be cleaning their shower heads once a month by soaking them in bleach for 30 minutes before giving it a thorough rinse. "If you do that once a month, the mycobacteria are very low," he noted.