Bacteria in Your Showerhead Can Make You Sick
Do you know that your showerhead may be housing potentially harmful organisms? Recent studies conducted in the United States and Europe have uncovered that chlorine resistant bacteria, known as mycobacteria, are prevalent in showerheads. These bacteria can make you sick.
What are Mycobacteria
Mycobacteria are bacterial organisms that are naturally found in soil and water. They are resistant to chlorine water treatment. They can end up in your showerhead by passing through your water system. When you turn on your shower, they can become aerosolize. If you breathe them in while you bathe, they can infect your lungs.
Breathing in aerosolized mycobacteria while you shower can cause you to develop a lung infection. It may also be possible to develop a lung infection from drinking water contaminated with mycobacteria. The most common infection that people develop is a nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung infection.
According to the study, Florida is one of the hotspots in the U.S. for NTM lung infections caused by mycobacteria. You are more at risk if your home has city water and/or metal shower heads. You are less likely to be at risk if your home has well water and/or plastic showerheads instead of metal ones.
You are most at risk of contracting an NTM lung infection from an infected shower if you have an underlying immune problem such as HIV. People with underlying lung conditions or other infections are also more at risk.
The warning signs and symptoms of a NTM lung infection include a chronic or recurring cough, fever, loss of energy and weight loss. If you have developed these symptoms, you should seek medical care. Lung infections caused by mycobacteria are treatable and curable with medical attention.
How to Kill Mycobacteria
There are two steps that you can take to make sure mycobacteria aren’t living in your showerhead.
The first step is to clean your showerhead. The most effective way to clean it is by soaking it in white vinegar. You can do this by attaching a plastic bag that is 1/3 filled with white vinegar it. You should submerge the showerhead in the vinegar and then tie the bag’s handles around it so that it stays on. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes before you remove the bag. The acid in the vinegar should kill the bacteria.
The second step is to have a whole home water filtration system installed. This comprehensive filtration system is designed to ensure that all the water you use for cooking, cleaning and bathing is safe. Tri-Florida Water Treatment offers whole home systems that are reliable, efficient and cost effective. We start by testing your water to determine your home’s water quality which includes uncovering bacteria, like mycobacteria, that may be hiding in your water. We will recommend a treatment or purification system based off your home’s water quality.
If you want to find out if mycobacteria are contaminating your water, fill out our form online to setup a free in-home water test!