The home is a perfect habitat for harmful germs, bacteria, and viruses. A rich community of bacteria flourishes in the shower environment. In the shower heads, where it’s not only moist and warm but also dark, all environments bacteria love. Of 45 shower heads sampled, 20% were growing Mycobacterium avium, an opportunistic pathogen that can infect people with weakened immune systems. Common infectious agents like staphylococcus and legionella also come from the municipal water supply and multiply in the shower head’s cozy confines. The cause for concern here is that about half the water droplets in a typical shower head’s spray are small enough to be breathed in.
An increasing number of infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are now found outside clinical settings. Virulent bacteria lurks in the air of our homes, one-third of the bacteria colonies found in kitchens and around trash cans were MRSA. A slightly larger portion of the kitchen bacteria was antibiotic resistant: 26 percent compared with 21 percent in bedrooms.
Elevated levels in the kitchen can come from food, because farm animals are given a steady diet of antibiotics, meat and dairy are known sources of antibacterial-resistant pathogens. And once the bacteria are in our trash, they stay warm and moist and well fed.
Airborne bacteria are associated with risk of infection in hospitals, there’s no reason to think that they won’t be associated with risk of infection in homes.