Best Shower heads for MAC

Posted by kathyhg @kathyhg, Mon, Mar 18 7:53pm

I’ve been reading about shower heads and it seems that many are bad for growing bacteria. One mentioned on another forum was called The Original Chrome Shower Head by Shower Clear. It is very expensive and wondering if anyone has experience with this or others that might be good.
Thanks,

Liked by Dee

I think there is no definitive answer on this issue. A study by NIH shows NTM can form a biofilm in PVC pipes which is not dissipated by drying out. Another study of biofilm suggests it cannot be "rinsed away" by flushing pipes. There is research that suggests that copper pipe doesn't have the same problem. If NTM (MAC/MAI) is present in water it may aerosolize. Some suggest this as a possible vector of infection. But, if the NTM forms a biofilm in your pipes, no kind of shower head or cleaning of the head will eliminate it. To suggest otherwise is not supported by research. I would be cautious about succumbing to a sales pitch, thinking it was somehow keeping me safe. I minimize time in the shower and we set the water heater to 140F to inhibit growth.

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@sueinmn Spot on, Sue! I do the same thing as you. I do soak my shower-head in a baggie of vinegar as an added pre-caution since that is where there are the heaviest with colonization.

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An interesting article/study about the bathroom being the source of mac. https://academic.oup.com/cid/article-abstract/45/3/347/359377

Liked by tdrell, pfists

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@windwalker888
That article on MAC colonizing predominately in bathrooms and mostly showerheads is very interesting. I will soak mine in vinigar much more often
I use a "hand" shower head and use it on a rainfall setting rather than a Spray setting hoping this spray method helps.
Thanks Teri

Shari

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I actually splurged and bought the Shower Clear shower head that opens up to dry between showers. It also has no rubber/plastic in the shower head except for an external rubber O ring. My thinking was that it is worth the money if it reduces my exposure to Mac, even slightly. It is solid brass, so fairly heavy, and looks very simple but well made. It was easy enough to install. No regrets about the price, considering what I spend on medications every month!

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@kathyhg

I actually splurged and bought the Shower Clear shower head that opens up to dry between showers. It also has no rubber/plastic in the shower head except for an external rubber O ring. My thinking was that it is worth the money if it reduces my exposure to Mac, even slightly. It is solid brass, so fairly heavy, and looks very simple but well made. It was easy enough to install. No regrets about the price, considering what I spend on medications every month!

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@kathyhg
I checked out more information on shower clear shower head.
Makes sense to me to splurge on buying one and Hopfully prevent Mac infections.
Is it relatively easy to open to clean after showers?
Thanks for your info.
Shari

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It is easy to open and clean. It is a simple but efficient design and the clasp is strong but easy enough to open and close. I think a good part of the cost is related to the material used to make it (my husband did some reading and said it is solid brass and therefore heavy and expensive to make). Anyway, I am pleased with the way it works.

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@kathyhg

I actually splurged and bought the Shower Clear shower head that opens up to dry between showers. It also has no rubber/plastic in the shower head except for an external rubber O ring. My thinking was that it is worth the money if it reduces my exposure to Mac, even slightly. It is solid brass, so fairly heavy, and looks very simple but well made. It was easy enough to install. No regrets about the price, considering what I spend on medications every month!

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@kathyhg, I had never heard of Shower Clear before. Is the purpose of making it from brass because that metal is an bacteriacide like copper?

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@windwalker888
@kathyhg

Yes Teri it is all brass metal rain type shower head that flips open easily. So you can flip it open after a shower to let it air dry. The man that invented it did so for his mother that got lung issues and the pulmonologist said it was most likely her shower head. He checked her shower head and it was full of mold.
They quote studies from National Jewish on the Shower Clear site about MAC contaminates being predominately in the shower head.
They explain that regular plastic shower heads cannot be effectively cleaned even by soaking in vinigar and regular replacement would be expensive.
My hubby just told me to order one.
Here is a link to the site.
Shari

https://www-shopshowerclear-com.myshopify.com/pages/medical-science

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@windwalker

@kathyhg, I had never heard of Shower Clear before. Is the purpose of making it from brass because that metal is an bacteriacide like copper?

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Sorry; no idea about the metal.

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If it makes you feel better that you are "doing something" by replacing your shower head, then do it. But that doesn't help with exposure to MAC prevalent throughout the environment.
After reading everything I can get my hands on, I would say the science isn't there yet to prove a conclusive link between your MAC infection and specifically, your shower. And even less that replacement of the shower head will "cure" the problem or prevent reinfection. As I understand this disease, once your lungs are colonized with MAC, it is not totally eradicated by treatment – just knocked down to undetectable numbers, so trying to "prevent infection" may be a moot point.
All of the studies cited are of very limited scope, with small sample sizes, and only one (from Japan) compared strains of mycobacterium found to the strains infecting residents of the homes. The results showed that only a few of the NTM found in the showers matched the strain the patient was infected with. None of the studies went as far as to evaluate any treatments like disinfecting or replacing the shower heads.
From a microbiological perspective, the biofilm that is formed surrounding NTM is tough, and I don't know what you can do at home to dislodge it & disinfect. That should certainly be subjected to thorough study as part of NTM research. That biofilm readily attaches to plastic – hmm, maybe the increase in infection is linked not to the shower heads, but to the replacement of copper plumbing and metal fixtures with plastic fixtures and pipe (PVC & PEX.) That would certainly be something to study as well.
As for myself, I have chosen to take the path of living a normal life, with reasonable precautions. I eat, rest, exercise, take my meds and do my breathing treatments to stay healthy. I wash my hands (a lot) and keep them away from my face. I avoid close contact with sick people. That means taking care when handling soil (avoid dust, wear gloves, wash thoroughly afterward.) At my Texas home, where I am pretty sure I contracted MAC, I have covered all the soil near my patio with ground cover, have a gardener mow, weed, rake & fertilize my yard & wash the patio while I am away & the house is well closed. I only garden there in pots with sterile potting soil. And I avoid blowing dust.

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@sueinmn

If it makes you feel better that you are "doing something" by replacing your shower head, then do it. But that doesn't help with exposure to MAC prevalent throughout the environment.
After reading everything I can get my hands on, I would say the science isn't there yet to prove a conclusive link between your MAC infection and specifically, your shower. And even less that replacement of the shower head will "cure" the problem or prevent reinfection. As I understand this disease, once your lungs are colonized with MAC, it is not totally eradicated by treatment – just knocked down to undetectable numbers, so trying to "prevent infection" may be a moot point.
All of the studies cited are of very limited scope, with small sample sizes, and only one (from Japan) compared strains of mycobacterium found to the strains infecting residents of the homes. The results showed that only a few of the NTM found in the showers matched the strain the patient was infected with. None of the studies went as far as to evaluate any treatments like disinfecting or replacing the shower heads.
From a microbiological perspective, the biofilm that is formed surrounding NTM is tough, and I don't know what you can do at home to dislodge it & disinfect. That should certainly be subjected to thorough study as part of NTM research. That biofilm readily attaches to plastic – hmm, maybe the increase in infection is linked not to the shower heads, but to the replacement of copper plumbing and metal fixtures with plastic fixtures and pipe (PVC & PEX.) That would certainly be something to study as well.
As for myself, I have chosen to take the path of living a normal life, with reasonable precautions. I eat, rest, exercise, take my meds and do my breathing treatments to stay healthy. I wash my hands (a lot) and keep them away from my face. I avoid close contact with sick people. That means taking care when handling soil (avoid dust, wear gloves, wash thoroughly afterward.) At my Texas home, where I am pretty sure I contracted MAC, I have covered all the soil near my patio with ground cover, have a gardener mow, weed, rake & fertilize my yard & wash the patio while I am away & the house is well closed. I only garden there in pots with sterile potting soil. And I avoid blowing dust.

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Hi Suenim…..It is recommended by National Jewish Hosputal to use the Micron 0.2 filter attached to your shower head…this prevents MAC from getting thru…Dr Falkingham, guru in MAC recommends…I just also ready a recent study done, saying that patients r likely getting reinfected in the bathroom…ie high level of MAC found in showerhead, bathroom tap, sinks bathtub water etc….I agree with slit of what you are saying as well….I tend to follow National and Mayo recommendations to extend my life as long as I can without getting crazy about things

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@megan123

Hi Suenim…..It is recommended by National Jewish Hosputal to use the Micron 0.2 filter attached to your shower head…this prevents MAC from getting thru…Dr Falkingham, guru in MAC recommends…I just also ready a recent study done, saying that patients r likely getting reinfected in the bathroom…ie high level of MAC found in showerhead, bathroom tap, sinks bathtub water etc….I agree with slit of what you are saying as well….I tend to follow National and Mayo recommendations to extend my life as long as I can without getting crazy about things

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Hi Jennifer – I guess I am a research/science geek. Can you cite the recent study you are referring to ? I would like to read it. Most of what I have seen about reinfection looked anecdotal to me. I would like to see an actual study.

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Can anyone recommend any water filters? Are there only tap type filters or are there any of the 0.2 micron ones for filters like PUR or Brita?

I get that the plastic piping that has replaced the old copper pipes is a source of Mac but at least it’s not building up in my shower head. I thought I was minimizing my risk by only using the shower when I washed my hair but when my husband took the old shower head down, it was full of water after 3 days. At least I know this one is dry and clean between uses!

Thanks in advance for any information people can share on filters.

Liked by pfists

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@sueinmn

Hi Jennifer – I guess I am a research/science geek. Can you cite the recent study you are referring to ? I would like to read it. Most of what I have seen about reinfection looked anecdotal to me. I would like to see an actual study.

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@sueinmn I just posted an article of study that Jennifer is referring to this past week. Did you see it? It is not the first study I have read about the connection between bathrooms being the possible source of mac infection. Studies showed that the dna of the mac found in showerheads did match the dna taken from a sputem sample of the patient. We cannot totally avoid mac exposure, but we can reduce the viral load and do things to minimize the exposure. I am like you; live with common sense and do the things you are doing to stay well. I am not going to make myself crazy trying to avoid it altogether.

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