In 2008, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that 235,000 Americans are admitted to emergency rooms with bathroom related injuries every year. What’s more outstanding is that 14% of people were actually hospitalized.
While some bathroom hazards may be obvious, there are many hidden ones you may not be aware of. I have identified 8 such bathroom hazards, and have provided solutions to ensure you don’t become the next embarrassing statistic.
8 Hidden Bathroom Hazards You May Not Be Aware Of
1. Using the Toilet
The CDC found that 14% of all bathroom related injuries were a direct result of using the toilet. In fact, people over 85 actually suffered over half of their injuries near the toilet.
Solution: Make sure you have a grab rail installed near your toilet.
2. Dirty Shower Heads
In 2009, researchers at The University of Colorado found 30% of shower heads contained the mycobacterium avium which has been linked to tuberculosis. Probably the most horrific case linked to shower heads occurred in 1976 with the fatal outbreak of Legionnaires‘ disease in America.
Solution: As the slime that builds-up inside the shower head can protect germs, make sure you clean it regularly.
Interestingly, the Colorado study found metal shower heads had fewer pathogens than plastic ones; so switch to a metal one and look for one with a filter that you can change regularly.
3. Flushing the Toilet
As one might expect, toilet water will contain bacteria from urine and faeces which can carry e-coli; when you flush a toilet, therefore, tiny droplets can disperse onto your bathroom. This is only an issue for items located close to your toilet, but as this will often include toothbrushes and soap it is not a very attractive thought.
Solution: Always flush with the lid down!
4. Mold, Glorious Mold
Mold produces allergens, irritants and has the potential to cause health problems, with the most common mold found in bathrooms being stachybotrys: a black, sticky fungus which can cause asthma-like symptoms.
It relies on moisture and damp to develop, so poorly ventilated bathrooms can easily become breeding grounds. Given the right climate, mold can rapidly grow in 24-48 hours and you often won’t notice it until it becomes a large problem.
Solution: The solution is simple: no moisture = no mold.
If you have an extractor fan use this while you shower, and for up to 20 minutes after, as this will lower humidity. If you don’t have access to a fan, simply shower with the door slightly open and ensure you leave it wide open for 20 minutes after.
5. Damp Floors
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that a wet floor will pose a potential health risk as it will increase the risk of falling. The two biggest causes of rogue wet floors are ill-fitted shower curtains and us, more specifically our wet feet.
Solution: In general, shower curtains are poor for protecting against water splashes; so ditch the curtain and invest in a sturdy bath screen.
6. Self-Inflicted Slippery Surfaces
This hazard is reserved solely for bath users and is a direct result of all the toiletries we use. These can be particularly slippery and can settle at the bottom of your bath, with bath oils being the main culprit.
The problem here is that you often won’t notice how slippery it is until you try to get up. This can prove to be a particularly menacing bathroom hazard for the elderly.
Solution: Install grab rails around your bath to give yourself something to hold onto when getting up.
You should also never step out onto a naked floor: invest in a skid-proof rug and some textured bathroom tiles with an uneven surface. Both of these will work together to provide your feet with something to grip onto.
7. Exiting the Bath
The CDC found that exiting the bath, or shower, causes the most dangers in the bathroom across all age groups. While only 2.2% of injuries involved entering, exiting was the cause 9.8% of injuries.
Solution: As with most tips, all you need to do is install grab rails.
8. Shattering Glass Screens
In 2009 the Consumer Products Safety Commission recorded nearly 2000 complaints made against shower doors which shattered as a result of being incorrectly installed.
Solution: Ensure a professional has fitted your shower door correctly.
Oh, and don’t forget to tell guests not to use the shower door as a leaning post!
About the Author: Paul is full time blogger for Splashdirect where he aims to make life easier for the average person through a series of DIY tips and buyer’s guides.