KILLER LURK­ING IN YOUR SHOWER

Life & Style Weekend - - WELLBEING -

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.

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