Monday, 14 June 2010

You'd have to be ill to risk this illness

I have just read an item on the BBC news website. It reports American research as showing that showerheads are breeding grounds for bacteria. No one should be surprised at that, I am sure I've read it before and it's obvious anyway. When you turn off the shower some water remains lodged in the showerhead and sits there until the next time it is used. All sorts of little buglets can make themselves cosy in the once warm water and breed as only buglets do. In a few hours there might be millions of the blighters. What terribly dangerous things showers are. Until you turn them on, at which point the little buggers get flushed out. Some, no doubt, will remain and expose you to a risk lower than you take by washing yesterday's dinner plates by hand.

The line that particularly caught my attention said "If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy". OK, we'll allow him "may" when he meant "might". There is clearly no need for panic, to add to the lack of need for this sort of pointless research. Getting a particularly high load of something with a long name is only potentially "not too ... healthy", so there's not much to worry about.

Ah, but there is something to worry about and it is nothing to do with long words to describe very small things. You can only get "a face full of water when you first turn your shower on" if you are a complete moron. You might like a cold shower, you might like it hot, or you might like it somewhere in between, but you cannot know the temperature of the water until it is running and has established its par temperature. Even the best thermostatically controlled showers do not deliver water instantly at the temperature chosen by the fastidious user. You have to wait for it to run a while mixing hot and cold so that your desires can be met. Only a fool would stand under a shower, turn it on and hope for the best.

I have a vague recollection from a couple of years ago of people suing hotels because they were either scalded of frozen by the water from the shower. Obviously morons do exist and use hotel showers despite not knowing the temperature setting of the device. Even in the home someone might have changed the thermostatic control without you noticing or, if you have a basic mixer tap the hot might be hotter or less hot than it was yesterday so you have to test it with a hand or some other part of your anatomy that is more able to withstand variations than your most tender regions.

This is all so obvious that to stand under a shower and turn it on can be the practice of only the seriously mentally ill. Anyone unable to cope with such a simple exercise without putting themselves in peril of burns or chilblains will hardly worry about also getting a high dose of bacteria. And if you don't clean the showerhead you also deserve everything you get.

What a load of twaddle.


Captain Ranty said...


Only a numpty steps into the shower then switches it on.

Mind you, I have read that asthma is on the rise thanks to chlorinated water and its effective delivery system to developing lungs via our old friend the shower.

Of course, that could be twaddle as well.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed, but you'd have to be mentally ill to think of washing a shower head.

Re what CR says, a week or two ago I read that some researchers said asthma was caused by dust (so you should keep your house clear) but in the same article reported some other research that said it's because our natural immune systems are buggered because of all the cleaning products we use (so don't be too obsessive about keeping yoru house clean).

Mark Wadsworth said...

"clean" not "clear", "your" not "yoru", sorry.

Anonymous said...

Clear as in clear of dust, and the house could have been Japanese..

We clean our shower head every few weeks, old pipes and hard water.

Stan said...

You know, there is an advert on telly at the moment that really annoys me - it is for some sort of soap dispenser that doesn't require you to touch it. The claim is that when you touch a normal soap dispenser you cover that button (or whatever it is) in nasty bugs.

Yeah - but then you wash your hands, so why worry?

Alex Cull said...

"I have a vague recollection from a couple of years ago of people suing hotels because they were either scalded or frozen by the water from the shower."

At my local swimming pool, there is now a sign over a washbasin saying "CAUTION - WARM WATER".

I'm stuck with a horrible dilemma. If I don't wash my hands, I might succumb to a virulent microbial attack. If I do wash my hands, I could face a terrifying, unspecified warm-water related injury. Who said modern life was easy?

H.R said...

Unfortunately, jumping into a shower stall and then turning on the water while staring at the shower head doesn't have consequences sufficient to remove those practitioners from the gene pool.


james c said...

Fat Bigot,

You might be onto something.

Perhaps there is a market in producing instruction booklets for showers.

The booklet could have a couple of pages of text, some nice pictures and a long legal disclaimer.

Or, perhaps there could be an instructional video-model uses shower, while wearing no clothes.

Then, for the expert shower user, there could be a special range of shower cleaning products:high pressure head cleaner, disinfectant
liquid, laser microbe exterminator etc.

TheFatBigot said...

Cif bathroom spray - not the cream (or do they call it "creme") - the ordinary spray. Mrs Slipshod, who does in FatBigot Towers once a week, swears by it.

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