The BBC (always my first port of call for “the news”, not least because I pay 61p a month for it) offered this early morning joy:

Taking showers ‘can make you ill’

I towelled my freshly-showered hair and read on, suspiciously. The story noted that a US study suggests one may be getting a dose of “Mycobacterium avium (M. avium)” from the shower… potentially leading to a number of unpleasant respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, dry cough, etc.

Lead researcher Professor Norman Pace, 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.”

I kind of started giggling at that point. First, because this is what I think of when I see the words ‘Norman Pace’:

Gareth Hale (L) and Norman Pace (R), try-hard comedians of yesteryear

Gareth Hale (L) and Norman Pace (R), try-hard comedians of yesteryear

Second, with reference to the foregrounded ‘dirty shower heads’, germ paranoia in UK media and advertising (as noted hilariously here) is, well, virulent. If some medical concern about the impact of cleaning products on the respiratory system is considered sufficient cause by the UK Cleaning Products Industry to issue a six page pdf ‘fact sheet’ saying it’s so totally not them… there must be something to the idea that when it comes to there being a constant massing of trillions of nasty cartoon bacteria lurking in the bathroom plotting our demise, as in the ads, it’s all a load of not-as-dirty-as-we-are-being-encouraged-to-fear bollocks?

Third and finally, because of the phrase ‘getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on’. I don’t doubt there may be something to the idea that lung-tampering nasties could loiter in the showerhead. I would certainly never have considered ‘Hot tub lung’ or ‘Lady Windermere’s syndrome’ to be anything other than super titles for jazz numbers before researching this article today, that’s for sure.

However, getting in the shower and then switching it on is simply not good shower practice. Anyone enjoying that thirty seconds of icy water first thing in the morning would probably agree that a face full of germs is also a bracing fix for what ails you.

I will continue to enjoy a shower as part of a balanced hygiene regime.