NPR logo Germ-Ridden Showerheads Latest Home Horror

Germ-Ridden Showerheads Latest Home Horror

As if we needed one more thing to worry about in this Season of Swine Flu, now we're told that our showerheads are incubators of bacteria that are just waiting to hitch a ride on the water stream and land on us, making the more susceptible among us ill.

A study in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences due out tomorrow will report that a microbe known as Mycobacterium avium thinks showerheads, especially the plastic ones, are a perfect place to grow, according to an Associated Press report.

As the AP reports:

People with normal immune systems have little to fear, but these microbes could be a concern for folks with cystic fibrosis or AIDS, people who are undergoing cancer treatment or those who have had a recent organ transplant.

Researchers at the University of Colorado tested 45 showers in five states as part of a larger study of the microbiology of air and water in homes, schools and public buildings. They report their shower findings in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In general, is it dangerous to take showers? "Probably not, if your immune system is not compromised in some way," lead author Norman R. Pace says. "But it's like anything else - there is a risk associated with it.

Given the problems attendant to not showering, it's a risk well worth taking.