By John Ensor •
Published: 09 Dec 2023 • 11:55
Stock image of a shower.
Have you ever considered the hidden dangers of a routine shower? While showering is a daily routine for most, essential for personal hygiene and health, it can become a perilous activity under certain weather conditions.
Recently the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted the public to the hazards of showering, writes OK Diario.
They highlight that lightning can travel through plumbing, advising against any water contact during a thunderstorm. This warning was issued following a comprehensive study of weather-related accidents.
While plastic pipes pose a lesser risk compared to metal ones, the primary advice remains to steer clear of all plumbing during storms.
The purpose behind the warning is to reduce the likelihood of a lightning strike. James Rawlings, a professor at Nottingham Trent University, emphasises in ‘The Conversation’ the danger of showering or doing dishes during a thunderstorm. These activities, he notes, are ‘almost as risky as staying outside during a storm.’
He explains, ‘If lightning strikes your house, the electricity will follow the path of least resistance to the ground. Things like metal wires or water in your pipes provide a convenient conductive path for the electricity to reach the ground.’
In the case of showers, which offer both water and metal, they become an ideal route for electrical currents.
Storm clouds over the Earth generate opposing electrical charges, attracting lightning. This phenomenon occurs when the air ceases to be an insulator, allowing the clouds to release their stored electricity onto the ground. This release manifests as lightning.
Lightning naturally seeks the easiest path to the ground, often through conductive materials in buildings, such as metal pipes and cables. The presence of water, a potent conductor, in showers, amplifies the risk, making them a potential lightning pathway.
Interestingly, outdoor pools don’t present the same hazard, typically being made using non-conductive materials, rather than metal.
Additionally, it’s wise to avoid concrete walls and floors during thunderstorms because of their potential to conduct electricity due to wires and pipes that may be concealed within them.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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