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Bacteria Spewing From Your Shower Head?

A nice refreshing shower after a workout is one of life's little pleasures. Well it used to be. New research shows that disease-causing bacteria is living in your shower head. So when you hop in the shower, the bacteria comes out in water droplets that spray on your face, in your mouth, and all over your body. Um, gross.

When 45 shower heads were tested in homes, 20 percent of them housed significant levels of Mycobacterium avium, bacteria linked to pulmonary disease that most often infects people with weakened immune systems. The pathogens are not only in the water, but they can become suspended in the air so as you breathe, they get drawn deep into your lungs.

Forgoing the showering is obviously not the answer, so what you can do is regularly remove your shower head and thoroughly disinfect it. Also, if your shower head is plastic, switch it out for a metal one since microbes attach more easily to plastic.


I'm definitely going to pass this info onto my gym, since I doubt they ever clean their shower heads. On second thought, I think I'll shower at home from now on. What about you?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
They've said this won't affect healthy people and only the immuno-compromised and the elderly should even begin to worry about this. They haven't even got conclusive evidence about the effects of the bacteria. Still, clean your shower head otherwise that's kind of gross. Bacteria builds up everywhere. :)
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Meh, never been a germ phobe. I've always been more worried about the toxic chemicals people use to disinfect than I am about the germs themselves.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I'm prone to getting severe lung infections due to my asthma and other health problems - so I have to take precautions on everything. I'm probably in the minority of people who actually do have a weaker immune system. For everybody else who doesn't have to worry - you're lucky :-)
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
Meh. I beat this by running hot water through my shower head and over the shower floor every morning. If the water is over 60 Degrees Celsius then just about everything is killed. Not too worried, there are nasties everywhere in life. You're at way more risk of getting an infection of you catch a bus or go shopping. (most of my infections, colds and flus have come from working in retail, with sick customers.)
bonniebonnie bonniebonnie 7 years
I will clean it, but I'm not going to worry about it.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I dunno, sweetpea, I like to lick my shower head every morning. I mean, I thought everyone did that ;)
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 7 years
Isn't it the same with water fountains? It's only the faucet and drain that have bacteria. When culturing from mid stream, no bacteria are found. So as long as the water is running, it should be fine.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Oh please. I've been showering for 28 years now, sometimes at the gym, sometimes at the dorm, most of the time at home. I think I'll live.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I'm going to agree with everyone as well...germs are sort of everywhere, people. You can't go through life worrying about them too much, that's just all there is to it. M. avium is like Listeria; it's pretty harmless unless you have a severely weakened immune system. I say just clean your shower like you normally do and eat plenty of veggies and fruit to keep your own immune system healthy and ready to go.
rach1007 rach1007 7 years
I agree with the majority here. We can't live our lives fearful of all the bacteria and what not around us. Humans have survived this long- I think we can live with it a little longer!
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 7 years
gross... but i've been taking showers my whole life and have never had a respiratory infection. so...
mo-p mo-p 7 years
I agree that bacteria is everywhere and shouldn't be considered gross After all, getting bacteria into your system is what helps to build your immune system. However, the mental picture I get from this story is not pretty.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
What she said ^ Life is full of bacteria. Get used to it.
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
There are plenty of "gross" things encountered on a daily basis, and this doesn't strike me as a big deal. The researchers explicitly say that this isn't anything we didn't already know (faucet water isn't sterile!) and it's not a real concern for people with normal immune systems.
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
Grossss. :( I live in a dorm so sadly there's nothing I can do.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
Eww...going to clean my shower head tonight! Will soaking it in a bleach solution work?
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