• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Could taking a shower make you sick?

September 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
We all think of showers as a place to get a good cleaning, but what if your shower head needs a cleaning of its own. Scientists at the University of Colorado were wondering if the increase in practice of showering might be leading to a number of illnesses, so they did some investigating.That refreshing splash in your face may be harboring more than just your water, a new study finds your shower head maybe spraying you with something else.

Researchers went to nine different cities and sampled 45 different shower heads and different times of the day. They water from the average shower head may contain 100 times the levels of opportunistic pathogens found in pre-shower water.

Theoretically, these microorganisms can cause bacterial respiratory infections such as pneumonia.

But before you take any action, Glendale Memorial's Family medicine expert Dr. Manuel Momjian says not to panic.

"Really for the average person it means absolutely nothing," said Dr. Momjian.

He says the bacteria in shower water may cause opportunistic infections which only affect a certain group of people.

"People with decrease immune function or people with chronic lung disease are most at risk," said Dr. Momjian.

Study authors argue that taking a bath may be healthier for people with compromised immune systems than taking a shower, but Dr. Momjian says it's too early to recommend that people change their habits.

"To jump to any conclusions right now from this one study is not really appropriate because these organisms are really everywhere," said Dr. Momjian.

You should make sure you have proper ventilation in your shower area because moisture breeds bacteria. Dr. Momjian says if you do have a leaky shower head you might want get it fixed or changed.

One expert notes that microbes have a harder time hanging onto all metal shower heads.

Report Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Most Popular
Follow @abc7 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments