Legionnaires’ disease and the Legionella bacteria got it’s name not from the French Foreign Legion but from an outbreak in the USA in 1976 at a convention of the American Legion. Signs and symptoms of Legionella.
The Legionella bacteria can either cause Legionnaire’s disease or a milder infection known as Pontiac fever. The most common type is L. pneumophila, a pneumonia. People who contract Legionnaires’ disease may have a fever, chills and a cough. They may also have muscular aches, headache, diarrhoea and feel confused and unstable, running a high temperature. As the disease progresses, pneumonia may develop as well as renal and liver function failure. These symptoms may take 2 to 10 days to develop after exposure to the bacteria. Pontiac fever develops more quickly – anywhere between a few hours to 2 days after exposure. People infected will experience fever and muscle aches but without pneumonia and other complications and normally recover without treatment in 2 to 5 days. Of course, if you have any of these symptoms and think you may have been infected with Legionella you or your partner should consult your doctor immediately, and warn of the possibility. Not all antibiotics are effective against Legionella.
Legionella, spas and hot tubs. It is important to be aware of the risk of Legionella in regard to spas and hot tubs because the warm water of a spa potentially provides and ideal environment for the bacteria to thrive. In addition to this, breathing in moist air that is infected with the bacteria can cause a person to contract the disease. You do not have to be in the hot tub, Legionnaires’ Disease can be caught by just standing nearby The bubble aeration in a spa makes this more likely to happen and there have been cases of Legionnaires’ disease that have been traced back to spas or hot tubs although domestic showers are also a risk. What can I do to protect myself from Legionella? Hot tubs and spas that are not cleaned and disinfected continuously can become infected with Legionella, as the bacteria exist naturally in the environment. It can be found in the mains water supply, where it can be safely swallowed. In order to keep your spa water safe, you should test the water daily before use and maintain the chlorine or bromine levels at 3 – 6 parts per million and the pH between 7.0 and 7.6Check the water more often when there is a heavy bather load – when the spa is being used more often or by a larger number of bathers. There are specific rules for hot tubs in holiday lodges etc. as well as for commercial spas. Keep the spa clean and free from dirt and debris and check and clean the filters on a regular basis, remembering to dry the filter elements / cartridges after cleaning. It is therefore a good idea to have two sets of 2 sets of cartridges, one in use and one drying after cleansing.• Regularly clean the filter with any good commercially available compound for cleaning and replace filter annually• Clean spa thoroughly with every drain and refill. Keep spa cover clean outside and inside• Prior to draining, use some type of flush to purge heating and plumbing systems of grime, biofilm, oils as well as other contaminant. This is why you need your hot tub clean ….
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