Your kitchen drain, reportedly, is typically dirtier than your average bathroom, with over 500,000 bacteria per square inch, which can really compromise you and your family’s health with the infection you can catch from it: the flu, salmonella, or worse, E. coli.
Only recently, a dirty drain was revealed to be the cause of a sepsis outbreak in a hospital in Sweden, as reported by Nancy Melville for Medscape:
A perplexing string of infections caused by metallo-beta-lactamase-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pae-MBL) has been linked to an unexpected, but possibly common source — a contaminated sink drain.
“In our hospital, this is a new focus,” said investigator Anna Stjarne Aspelund, MD, from the Department of Infection Control in Region Skåne, in Lund and Malmö, Sweden. “I believe this is a commonly overlooked source of bacteria,” she told Medscape Medical News.
The patients had been admitted to the same room, one after the other. Within weeks, two more patients in another ward showed positive cultures of the same strain of Pae-MBL.
Ten drains, all in hand-washing sinks in patient bathrooms, tested positive for Pae-MBL. In the record search, 12 patients were found to have had Pae-MBL-positive cultures, all but one of whom were in wards with a contaminated sink.
Sepsis is a life-threatening blood infection caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection. When the chemicals released into the blood to fight infection trigger widespread inflammation, it can result in multiple organ failure and death, as had happened to the two patients in Sweden. Whether in the hospital or at home, a dirty drain, which opens up the risk for you and your family of contracting and spreading infections, cannot be ignored. Especially when backflows from clogged drains start to happen, you cannot choose to forego calling your plumber to fix the drain immediately. Drain cleaning in homes should be performed without delay at the first sign of trouble.
Not everything that appears to be clean is a hundred percent germ-free. Sink drains may be constantly in contact with water, but the food particles that go down your sink could be a breeding ground for bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli.
Preventing the types of illnesses caused by these germs always starts at home. Regularly clean your kitchen drain; if you’re not comfortable using powerful commercial cleaners, you can use equally effective antiseptic cleaners, such as baking soda and vinegar solutions, to get your sink spick and span. For your worse-case plumbing issues, professional plumbers such as Harris Plumbing, Inc.—can help unclog the stubborn dirt in your drains, and leave them clean and germ-free.