When it comes to possible infections, 2020 has really taken the cake. We’ve talked at length about COVID-19. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that people are not likely to catch the coronavirus by swimming. That said, there are still plenty of other risks to consider during the pandemic. For example, there have been reports of increased cases of Legionnaires’ Disease during lockdown. In today’s post, we’ll take a close look at these claims and show you some tips to help keep you and your family safe.
What is Legionnaires’ Disease?Before we get started, what is Legionnaires’ disease? In short, it is a type of pneumonia. This lung infection is often contracted through breathing in droplets of water that contain legionella bacteria. As you might expect, it can result in serious illness or even death. How did this disease get its name? Well, the disease was first discovered in 1976 after a major outbreak at an American Legion convention. Eventually, health officials discovered that a new bacterium was being spread via the building’s air-conditioning system. In addition to Legionnaires’ disease, legionella bacteria can also cause Pontiac fever. In a nutshell, this is a milder form of the illness without pneumonia.
Who is Most At-Risk for Legionnaires’ Disease?While it is quite possible for any of us to catch Legionnaire’s disease, some people are more at risk than others. According to the CDC, these groups suffer from the greatest risk:
- People 50 years of age or older
- Current or former smokers
- People with chronic lung disease
- People who have existing health concerns or take medicines that lower their body’s ability to fight germs and sickness—such as people whose immune systems are weakened because of cancer, an organ transplant, or HIV