The Killer Fungus in Your Drain
A recent report in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology is raising some eyebrows for its discovery that a dangerous fungus, Fusarium, could be hiding in many household drains. This particular strain of fungus is familiar to many sinus surgeons, as it can take root in the sinuses and cause significant pain and headaches. As a recent report on NPR put it:
The fungus in question (genus Fusarium) can cause sinus infections and funky toenails. On rare occasions it kills people with weak immune systems. More recently, it has caused serious eye infections in people who wear contact lenses.
The types of Fusarium that caused the outbreaks of eye infections in 2005 and 2006 are sometimes found in household plumbing, so researchers at Penn State University set out to see just how common they are. They swabbed 471 bathroom drains in the Eastern U.S. and California, and found that two-thirds of sink drains harbored at least one Fusarium strain.
Now let me get this out of the way first: it is pretty much impossible to clear your home of all fungus. Fungi have been around for about 1.4 billion years, and they aren’t about to give up just because someone built a house. Most fungi are harmless, and the few strains that are considered virulent can be readily managed with a little caution. The fusarium found in plumbing does not necessarily represent an impending outbreak: generally these populations stay where they are, and cannot do you harm unless you actively reach inside your pipes.
Still, the behavior of this particular strain is unknown, so caution is advised. Sinus infections can be dangerous no matter how they are contracted. If you have experienced pressure, pain, or headaches that lasts longer than several weeks, it is important to contact an expert Los Angeles sinus surgeon for a work-up sooner rather than later.
Don’t let your sinus health go down the drain.