Showering or bathing is not safe during a thunderstorm. People may be at risk of electric shock if lightning strikes a building and travels through metal plumbing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people should avoid showering, bathing, and other activities that involve running water or plumbing during a thunderstorm.

Around 1 in every 3 lightning strike injuries happen to people who are indoors, so individuals must take steps to stay safe even if they are not outside.

To stay safe when indoors during a thunderstorm, people should avoid activities connected to plumbing systems and any devices that connect to an electrical outlet.

This article looks at the risks of showering in a thunderstorm, tips for staying safe, and other activities to avoid when there is a risk of lightning.

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The CDC states that it is not safe to shower during a thunderstorm.

If lightning strikes a building, it may travel through the plumbing. Showering during a thunderstorm may increase a person’s risk of electrocution.

This risk is greater with metal pipes than plastic pipes, but it is still best to avoid using any plumbing system or running water during a thunderstorm.

Is it safe to take a bath during a thunderstorm?

The CDC advises against bathing during a thunderstorm, as lightning may travel through the plumbing.

Any activities that put people in contact with plumping or running water during a thunderstorm may increase the risk of electrocution, including washing the dishes and washing hands.

People should avoid running water and plumbing systems, even when they stay inside during a thunderstorm, according to the American Red Cross.

Other things to avoid during a thunderstorm include the following, per the CDC:

  • Being outdoors: Stay indoors during a thunderstorm. If outdoors, seek suitable shelter.
  • Being by windows: Keep away from windows or doors. Ideally, people should stay in an interior room on a low level.
  • Using electrical outlets: Avoid using any electrical devices connected to an electrical outlet, such as a TV or computer.
  • Using a landline: Avoid using a corded phone. Cordless phones and mobile phones are typically safe to use.
  • Standing under a tree: Lightning may strike a tree, or high winds during a storm may cause a tree or its branches to fall.
  • Leaning against concrete: Concrete walls or buildings may contain metal pipes or wiring, which may conduct lightning.
  • Lying on the ground: During a lightning storm, dangerous electrical currents can run along the ground’s surface.
  • Standing near water: Get out of and stay away from bodies of water, such as swimming pools, lakes, or the sea or ocean.

If people can hear thunder, they may be at risk of lightning strikes and should take precautions. Lightning can strike even when it is not raining and can occur up to 10 miles away from rainfall.

The National Weather Service offers the following tips to help people to stay safe during a thunderstorm:

  • Go indoors: It is unsafe to be outdoors during a thunderstorm, so get indoors as soon as possible.
  • Find shelter: If people cannot get inside, they should find suitable shelter, such as an enclosed vehicle.
  • Stay inside: Stay in an enclosed building and avoid porches or balconies. Stay inside until at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder.

Staying safe outdoors

If outdoors without any safe shelter, people can take the following precautions to help reduce the risk of injury during a thunderstorm:

  • getting down from any elevated areas, such as peaks, ridges, or hillsides
  • avoiding the use of a cliff or overhang as shelter
  • avoiding lying flat on the ground
  • avoiding standing under any single trees or tall structures
  • keeping away from all bodies of water
  • keeping away from any objects which could conduct electricity, such as metal fences, barbed wire, power lines, or windmills

If people are outdoors in a thunderstorm and they cannot get to any safe shelter, the CDC suggests they can crouch down low in a ball-like position. People should place their feet together, tuck their head in, and cover their ears.

If someone experiences an electric shock during a thunderstorm, call for emergency help as soon as possible, the CDC advises. Cordless phones and mobile phones are safe to use for this.

If the injured person is not bleeding, move them away from unsafe locations, such as showers and other plumbing systems, to minimize the risk of further electrocution.

When they are in a safe location, people should check the injured person for any other injuries. If the injured person is not breathing or does not have a pulse, the CDC recommends performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions until emergency help arrives.

Learn how to perform CPR.

It is not safe to shower during a thunderstorm. If lightning strikes a building, it may travel through water pipes and increase the risk of electrocution.

To lower this risk, people should avoid all water-based activities during a thunderstorm, including bathing and washing the dishes.

To stay safe during a thunderstorm, people can also stay indoors, avoid using electrical devices, and avoid using corded phones.