Doctor Says He Runs His Shower For 20 Minutes After Coming Back From Holiday
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No one likes coming home after a long and relaxing holiday, it's poo. So the chances are that the last thing on your mind when you actually do is to start cleaning your shower.
But according to one doctor, that's exactly what we should be doing if we want to avoid becoming seriously ill.
Dr Tom Makin says every time he gets home after a few days away he runs his shower for 20 minutes, in order to wash away any germs that have built up while he was on holiday.
He then turns it off and won't return to the bathroom for another 20 minutes.
"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."
The expert from Cheshire, England, says the simple trick can help protect your family from inhaling a particularly dangerous bacteria called legionella that develops in stagnant water.
Dr Makin has spent the past 30 years studying outbreaks of legionnaires' disease, which can lead to pneumonia and organ failure.
And with summer well underway and families heading out on long holidays abroad or weekends away, he is now urging people to take extra care when they return home to prevent the bacteria from harming them and their loved ones.
Earlier this year, more than a dozen people fell ill due to an outbreak at a health spa in Bournemouth.
According to Dr Makin, the germs tend to thrive in temperatures of 20C and below 45C, and as well as shower heads can also be found in pipes or the garden hose.
He says those most at risk are smokers and people with weaker immune systems, such as those suffering from cancer or the elderly.
The doctor explained: "We are seeing longer, hotter summers and that's going to encourage the bugs to grow.
"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."