Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

One of my favorite things to do as soon as I get home from work is to have a hot, soapy shower and wash off the day. I have all sorts of wonderful Crabtree and Evelyn soap, and it's so refreshing. What could be nicer, right? And what else could make us feel so clean and invigorated than a hot shower, right? Well, it turns out that, according to a recent study done, showerheads are breeding grounds for bacteria that clump together and turn into a spray that soaks and may infect unsuspecting bathers.

Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder tested water before and after it passed through showerheads in nine cities, including New York, and found that levels of bacteria increased 100-fold on the way out. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The most plentiful microbe found, mycobacterium avium, can cause symptoms similar to tuberculosis, including respiratory problems, fever and fatigue. While the levels are unlikely to harm healthy people, they could pose risks to people with AIDS or weakened immune systems, said Laura Baumgartner, a research fellow.

"It's no more dangerous for the average person than getting out of bed in the morning," Baumgartner said. "But if you're immune-suppressed, with diseases like cystic fibrosis or AIDS, it could be worrisome."

People may minimize the risk, Baumgartner said. One way is to not stand under the shower for the first 30 seconds, while the bacteria are sprayed out. Another is to use all-metal showerheads because plastic seemed to breed more of the bacteria.
... Newsday.com

Omigoodness, what next?

I once read that Janet Leigh said she was not able to take showers again, after filming the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", the scene frightened her so much. Who would ever have guessed there was more menace coming from the hot, refreshing water than any danger from Norman Bates. I have never been able to watch that scene completely through; I always have to leave the room. And on occasion when I have been in the shower, I have glanced at the shower curtain, and thought ... "What if" ... Well, it turns out that the real danger is the stuff coming out of the shower head, and clinging to the shower curtain, and the tiles, and the bathtub and the bath mat...

Please excuse me while I go and find my bleach.

27 comments:

The Bug said...

Dr. M mentioned that study last night. I decided that I don't have the energy to care right at the moment - I'll freak out later when my shoulder is healed & I have maximum cleaning ability LOL.

I have those Norman Bates thoughts too sometimes - fortunately we now have shower doors instead of a curtain so I feel a smidge safer. I'll see them coming & attack them with my shower pouff!

Whitney Lee said...

I have decided that if I worry about all of the things we are told we should worry about I would accomplish absolutely nothing. It seems that I could guard myself and my family against every danger I see coming and something is going to sneak in the back way. Therefore I am going to take my chances and simply hope I don't end up with the shower head ickies!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Is nothing safe? I take my shower heads off periodically and soak them in vinegar because we have well water that is loaded with minerals. The shower has always been the highlight of my day.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Is nothing safe? I take my shower heads off periodically and soak them in vinegar because we have well water that is loaded with minerals. The shower has always been the highlight of my day.

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

You can buy a shower-head filter that filters out EVERYTHING.

I paid $39.95 for one; it makes it wonderful.

Also, I'm not worried about anyone breaking in; we live in a gated community - 24/hour guard, and in the desert where I live, during the summer, even the cold water is 'warm'.........

Love it!

I also pipe music into my bathroom with a wireless speaker; I put on my play-lists, and have classical music to shower to - now that's wonderful as I see it.

jeannette stgermain said...

Indeed, what next? They'll make you afraid to stand anywhere, anytime, any place. Excuse me for breathing, that may be dangerous too, LOL!

Miranda said...

I saw something about this on one of the morning shows here a couple days ago and they were hyping it up, until the segment and after stiring the pot with "dangerous germs" they said "well don't stop taking showers, they won't really hurt you" Okay then why report on it? Why hype it up like that? To warn us not to be scared? I don't understand the news lately.
A while back I was in the shower and the door to my bathroom opened up and it freaked me out, until I saw that it was just the stinkin' dog coming in for a drink of toilet water.
Oh and they also said that bleach "might not help" so uhm yeah, there goes that thought, then they said "just let the water run for a little bit before you get in there" Who doesn't do that?! Can you jump in a cold shower? Or does your hot water come on instantly? Mine doesn't. I wish it did, but we still live in the dark ages with our big hot water tank that takes a little bit to heat up. Someday I'll get one of those that heats it instantly, someday...
You know, you blog about all the things that I THINK about, yet I don't blog about them. Are you in my head or something?!

SparkleFarkle said...

I believe Norman Bates actually lives in our shower head.

Nancy said...

Man, one more thing to add to the list, right? Ghaaaa

Mark said...

GAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Killers to the right, thugs to left, bacteria from above! naaaah can't worry about what hasn't killed me yet and what has definitely improved my standing in society. who woulda thunk the only thing between me and acceptance was a bi-annual shower?

Land of shimp said...

Oh my goodness! Terror in the shower! This has given me the giggles. It's just the concept. Next report will be how your pillow is secretly conspiring to do you in in the dead of night!

We have to clean our shower heads because the water out here is hard enough to practically cause bruises. Even if we didn't, I'm not sure I'd worry too much about this. I think if we fully knew how much bacteria we came in contact with on a daily basis, we'd practically drop from shock.

This also reminds me of a scene from a TV show I liked called [i]Dead Like Me[/i], which was a comedy-drama about a group of Grim Reapers. In one episode, death takes a holiday and scenes of people running with scissors, or getting toast out of the toaster with a metal fork followed. The voice over said: Death is like sex in high school. If you knew how frequently you were near it, you'd be paralyzed.

Shower on. Eat some Sushi. Take public transport. Touch doorknobs. If we knew how much risk we were frequently next to? We might be paralyzed into not having any fun.

Kathryn said...

Sometimes i think it is a sad thing that the microscope was invented so that we know about these things. Some folks (like my mother) live in such horror of microbes that they try to do everything they can to sterilize their environment. They kill the good with the bad & lose all sense of balance. As a child i had the worst allergies in my class in 1st & 2nd grades, & i'm sure it was in part due to this.

I decided quite some time ago that beyond regular hygiene, i'm not going to worry about such things.

I like that Alane got the giggles over this. We can all giggle together! :)

PhilipH said...

Our Scottish water is so soft and delicious no bacteria would have the nerve to tamper with it!

Alane: thanks for your http tip; it works. Pity you put [ ] around you italic quote of Dead Like Me instead of < >

TomCat said...

I wonder if the inside of the spigot in the tub is the same. Nevertheless, showering it it. I can't stand sitting in a tub of my own dirt, and standing nekked in the rain can get a fellow in trouble.

Land of shimp said...

Kathryn, you and I are in the same boat. If we worried about all we are told to worry about? We'd never get anything done!

Philip, I do that all the time. It drives me 'round the bend with myself. I'm used to message board coding when answering posts, and I use the brackets, when I actually do know html coding. Glad the code worked!

If you have any advice for how to make my brain work more regularly? No? Gah. I'm doomed ;-) I may as well go take a shower, things are that bad!

Meggie said...

Is nothing safe anymore? first they told us soaking in a tub was filthy, now they tell us standing under the shower is worse?
I will just pretend I never read this post, I think! haha.

Russell said...

I wonder what kind of bacteria my dog Bailey leaves when he takes a shower? At least he is finally learning to pull the shower curtain all the way over so water does not get all over the floor.

Now if I can just get him to stop eating snacks in bed and turn out the light when he is done reading at night.....

Brenda said...

Our water is so hard I have to replace our faucet parts about once a year. I would love to have a water softener! Showers don't scare me anymore because we have doors and I haven't seen Psycho in years. I couldn't watch that scene either.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I knew lots of people who were afraid to shower without someone standing guard after seeing"Psycho." I'm pretty sure my cousin got married so she would never have to shower unprotected again.

I shower at least twice a day so that's good to know. :(

Marguerite said...

I have a shower head filter, also, and it does a great job of trapping all of the pollutants. Love Crabtree & Evelyn, too, cher!

tinkerbell the bipolar faery said...

I have ALWAYS, without really thinking why, started the shower before entering the tub/shower stall. Years ago, when my sister was in her 20s and she was afraid of everything, she actually had a transparent shower curtain, so she could see if anyone was intruding.

Canarybird said...

Another shower scare disease, when all we previously had to worry about was catching legionella from the shower head LOL.
A friend from Germany who stayed on holiday with us once heard that someone on this island had caught legionella, so he bought a new shower head for his guest bathroom while he was here with us just to be safe! We had to laugh.

ivan said...

Phil,

In French, Oate de Foque!

Jo said...

The Bug, LOL. It's silly, isn't it? But I still have those thoughts too.

Whitney, oh, yes. *heh* A person could end up with a serious case of OCD, otherwise.

Kathy, what a good idea. I might actually try that!

Diane, omigosh! What a wonderful idea. I actually play classical music too, when I am showering. Great minds!

Jeanette, oh, yes, breathing is probably dangerous. *heh*

Miranda, LOL...! I think we all think about these things. :-) It's crazy, isn't it? I had a shower last night, and I enjoyed it as much as ever!

Sparkle, LOL. You crack me up. :-)

Nancy, doesn't it just make you crazy!!?? :-)

Mark, whether you need it or not, right? *heh*

Alane, "Shower on. Eat some Sushi. Take public transport. Touch doorknobs." I do all those things. And "Dead Like Me" was one of my favorite TV shows. AND it was filmed in Vancouver, and the woman who played George's mother is someone I had actually met. :-)

Kathryn, you are so right. We are sterilizing our world until we have no immunities to anything anymore. True!

Philip, oh, yes, I remember the soft water in Scotland, when I was staying with my friend there.

TomCat, now there's a sight people wouldn't see every day. *heh*

Meggie, what would we do without baths and showers? Oh, goodness, just think of it! :-)

Russell, and if you could just get Mr. Bailey to stop eating your chocolate brownies and applie pie. Whadda guy!

Brenda, I can just imagine the effect it must have had on Janet Leigh, filming it for a whole week. EEEEK!

Hearts, you know what? I shower twice a day too. It's one of my guilty pleasures! Hot soapy showers!

Marguerite, isn't Crabtree and Evelyn just the best? And then I just Crabtree and Evelyn body cream afterwards.

Tinkerbell, omigosh! The only intruders I have in my shower are wolf spiders. Those things are awful...!

Sharon, omigawd! That is definitely taking it to the extreme. How on earth did he make it from Germany to your place in one piece!? :-)

Ivan, *heh* Oui.

Kimberly said...

Rain Man said it best "hot water burn baby"....

TomCat said...

And thank goodness they don't. Talk about eye pollution!!

Mariana Soffer said...

Very interesting Jo, but I was wondering where did you get that information from, do you have the url now?
Because my idea is that the raise of them is not necesarily bad for ourself because we will probably develop defenses against them, so indeed we are exposed to the same risk that we where when they where less. I am not sure it is just a thought about the information in your text.

Take care jo, be well