August 30th, 2017 marks the first time that Legionella Awareness Day is celebrated. The event aims to raise awareness of the disease. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a type of bacteria known as Legionella. A person can catch the disease by inhaling water droplets that carry the bacteria.
People who have contracted the disease will experience symptoms including fever, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue. The common flu-like symptoms are one reason why some people do not seek treatment.
Cases of Legionella are more common during the summer months in places where stagnant water is present or recirculates, these include public areas such as hot tubs, spas and swimming pools. This is also a crucial time for Legionella testing.
Here are some important reminders on how to avoid Legionella:
1. Temperature control
The bacteria thrive in temperatures between 20°C and 45°C. To reduce the chances of the bacteria burgeoning, keep hot water stored at a minimum of 60°C and distributed at a minimum temperature of 50°C. On the other hand, cold water should be stored and distributed at temperatures below 20°C.
Be careful when using a high temperature setting as you may run the risk of scalding yourself or anybody else living in your home or apartment; you may wish to consider installing thermostatic mixer valves at each outlet to blend the hot water with cold to reduce the risk.
2. Avoid stagnant water
Any standing pool of water can harbour bacteria, so take precautions when handling the liquid. Be careful not to stir up the water to produce an aerosol which could be inhaled.
At home, flush outlets that have not been used in a while. For taps, keep them running for a few minutes before using the water to ensure fresh water is pulled through the pipework.
3. Check water tanks
At least once every year, check your water storage tanks to see if any debris has fallen in or if sediment has settled inside. Rust, slime, vermin or pieces of rubbish can contaminate the water.
4. Clean water fixtures
Clean, disinfect and descale hoses, shower heads and similar water fixtures at least once every three months. This prevents scale, dirt, rust and slime from developing inside.
If you wish to check if your water is free of Legionella bacteria, you can order a water testing kit from AquaCert. Testing for the presence of the bacteria is recommended for any area where stagnant water is present. It is very quick and easy, you don’t need to go anywhere. We will deliver and pick up the testing kit as well as send the results online or by post. This is a simple step to take to ensure the safety of your establishment from water borne bacteria such as Legionella.