When left to grow and spread, legionella bacteria can cause a mild, flu-like illness called Pontiac fever. It can also cause Legionnaires’ Disease, a potentially fatal type of pneumonia that particularly targets the old and weak. As such, it’s particularly important to protect vulnerable people such as hospital patients, the elderly, and children from the disease.
Legionella prevention such as regular testing and water purification is a straightforward way of preventing outbreaks in facilities where vulnerable people are, such as hospitals, care homes, schools and nurseries. Here’s everything you need to know about this disease.
What are the Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionnaires’ Disease can cause many unpleasant symptoms including a bad cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, a high temperature, flu-like symptoms and diarrhoea. It can also cause breathing difficulties, and if you experience these you must call for emergency help. Hospital treatments for Legionnaires’ Disease typically include antibiotics given directly into a vein. You may also be given oxygen through a face mask or tubes in your nose, or a machine to help you breathe.
How do you Catch Legionnaires’ Disease?
You can catch Legionnaires’ Disease by breathing in small water droplets containing legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ is usually caught in places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria has penetrated the building’s water supply. That’s why it’s so important for large facilities such as hospitals and surgeries; care homes and hospices; child care establishments such as schools and nurseries; and healthcare centres to implement legionella protection strategies such as water purification.
Legionella has the potential to multiply, grow and become contagious once it gets into air conditioning systems, humidifiers, spa pools and hot tubs, and taps/showers that are not used often. You can’t usually get Legionnaires’ Disease from drinking water that contains bacteria – unless it’s taken into the lungs by mistake. It’s also not common to catch this illness from an infected individual.
Legionella Infection Control and Legionnaires’ Prevention
The best way to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease is to carry out regular testing for the bacteria that causes this illness. Legionella infection control is absolutely vital in order to prevent the bacteria from taking over water supplies. If bacteria is found in the water, purification techniques can be used to eradicate it. It’s also possible to regularly flush out your water systems to ensure the water inside is fresh and free from contamination. Carrying out prevention and treatment for the legionella bacteria is vital to ensuring the safety of everyone inside an establishment.
Taking measures to prevent a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak will also safeguard your facility from a legal perspective. If no measures are taken, you could be liable for damages. Contact Legionella Solutions for a professional legionella risk assessment and expert control solutions.