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15 July 2019, 12:35
A doctor has revealed that using the shower straight after getting back from holiday could be harmful.
There’s nothing better than getting home after a long flight, dumping your suitcase by the stairs and climbing into the shower.
But it turns out your post-holiday routine could actually be putting your health at risk.
And microbiologist Dr Tom Makin has now warned people who haven’t used their shower for a few days could be exposed to harmful bacteria when they step back into the bathroom.
Collecting inside shower heads, water butts and pipes, the bacteria called legionella can contaminate droplets of water and, if inhaled into the lungs, causes legionnaire's disease.
Also known as legionellosis, this can then lead to pneumonia and even organ failure.
Explaining how he attempts to combat the risk of contracting the potentially deadly disease, Dr Makin said the first thing he does when he arrives back from holiday is turn on the shower.
"I cover my nose and mouth with one hand and turn on the shower with the other,” he told the Daily Mail.
"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."
This can become even worse through the summer months as the bacteria thrives in hotter temperatures, particularly stagnant water above 20C and below 45C.
It can also be present in the hose or sprinkler system, meaning a spot of gardening could place you and your family at risk of infection.
Around 500 Brits a year contract legionnaire's and the World Health Organisation says that rising numbers could be down to more people having showers than baths.
Symptoms include breathlessness, high temperature, feverishness and a cough, although many cases go undiagnosed.
Treatment is very simple and the infection can usually be cured with a short dose of antibiotics.