Risk of Legionnaires’ Disease During Lockdown

Risk of Legionnaires’ Disease During Lockdown
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

Since we’ve been living in the shadow of a pandemic for so long, many of us will recognize that a few of these categories are also in the “high risk” description of COVID-19. It pays to be extra careful if you have any of these preexisting conditions.

Increased Risk of Legionnaires’ Disease During Lockdown

Speaking of COVID-19, let’s talk about the increased risk of Legionnaires’ disease during lockdown. Now, while legionella germs are spread through droplets of water, what does that mean exactly? Well, a lot of buildings have gone without use for months on end. This means their air condition and heating systems may have become a bit stagnant.

The legionella bacterium thrives in human-made water systems, including cooling towers, plumbing systems and even decorative fountains. Breathing in these infected droplets can be very dangerous.

Legionella in Hot Tubs

We’ve discussed hot tub safety before, and the value of chorine. Now it’s a terrific time to use all of that knowledge at once. Chlorine and other disinfectants can help to kill the germs in your hot tub, taps and more.

The most important thing a hot tub owner can do is to pay close attention to the chemical levels of the water. You’ll want to balance your chlorine and pH levels to help put a stop to any nasty germs.

Beyond the hot tub, consider flushing the water in bathrooms and showers that are not frequently used. Over time, the water could have become contaminated. Let it run and give the pipes and taps a thorough cleaning. You can never be too careful when it comes to your health.

What Happens if You Become Infected?

The only way to truly know if you become infected is to visit a doctor. There you can be properly diagnosed.

Since so many people are hesitant to head out during the pandemic, Legionnaires’ disease during lockdown can be especially deadly. No matter what, don’t take your health on faith alone. Make sure an expert gives you a thorough examination.