Why You Should Be Running Your Shower For 20 Minutes When You Come Back From Holiday
One of the first things we want to do when we get home from a holiday is get reacquainted with our home comforts. That means putting the kettle on, laying on our comfy sofa and taking a long, hot shower.
But according to one doctor, you might not want to jump in your shower too soon if you want to avoid getting seriously ill.
Dr Tom Makin says that every time he goes away, he lets his shower run for 20 minutes before getting in it. This is to wash away any harmful bacteria that builds up in his absence.
He then turns it off, and leaves the room for another 20 minutes to avoid breathing them in. It may seem odd - but he reckons you should be doing it to.
"I cover my nose and mouth with one hand and turn on the shower with the other," he says. "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."
I know what you're thinking, isn't this all a bit overcautious? And what a dreadful waste of water, especially considering we're meant to be saving the environment...
But according to Dr Makin, this trick could be saving you and your family from inhaling a dangerous kind of bacteria called legionella that develops in stagnant water. The Cheshire-born doctor has spent 30 years studying legionnaires' disease, caused by the bacteria, which can lead to pneumonia and organ failure.
According to Dr Makin, the germs can be found in shower heads, pipes or the garden hose, tending to thrive in temperatures between 20C and 45C. He says climate change and the longer, hotter summer's we are now experiencing will encourage the bugs to grow.
Dr Makin advises: "If you've not used the shower for more than three or four days, run it - with both hot and cold taps turned on gently - for 20 minutes.
"If you have a flexible hose, place the shower head directly over the plughole - that way it doesn't generate airborne droplets.
He added: "If not, shut the door behind you and don't go back in for at least 20 minutes, or until all the airborne water droplets have dispersed."
It sounds like he knows what he's talking about, and TBH, we're not too keen on getting ill right after a holiday...
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