KILLER LURKING IN YOUR SHOWER
A nice refreshing shower after a flight home from your holiday can be tempting.
But a doctor has warned you should run the water for 20 minutes first before using it to avoid lethal bacteria.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, microbiologist Dr Tom Makin has recommended people who haven’t used their shower for more than a few days should take precautions or risk inhaling bacteria called legionella. It contaminates droplets of water and, if inhaled into the lungs, can cause legionnaire’s disease, which may trigger life-threatening pneumonia.
“I cover my nose and mouth with one hand and turn on the shower with the other,” he explains of his first task when he gets home after a break.
“After 20 minutes or so, I’ll turn the shower off and then I won’t go back into the bathroom for at least another 20 minutes.”
The bacteria thrives in stagnant water above 20C and below 45C. Its favourite places to lurk in home include shower heads, water butts and pipes.
But it can also be present in your garden hose or sprinkler system.
The initial symptoms of legionnaire’s disease are very similar to that of the flu, with headaches, muscle pain, high temperatures, tiredness and chills.
But when the bacteria spreads to the individual’s lungs the symptoms are more similar to that of pneumonia: chest pains, a persistent cough and shortness of breath.
It usually takes between six and seven days for the full-blown infection to kick in after infection.