Water Hygiene – How to prevent Legionnaires’ disease
What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia, caused by Legionella bacteria. With 400-500 cases reported in the UK each year, the disease is quite rare.
Anyone can catch it, but most sufferers tend to be over 50 years old. Anyone with a weak immune system, an underlying medical condition and those that smoke, are at greater risk.
The bacteria won’t multiply in temperatures below 20˚C and can’t survive in temperatures above 60˚C. Stagnant water which is between 20˚C and 45˚C provides the best breeding conditions.
How do people get it?
Legionnaires’ disease comes from BREATHING IN bacteria contained in small droplets of water, like spray from a shower or taps. It is NOT spread directly from person to person and you CANNOT get it from actually drinking water or getting water into your mouth.
How can it be prevented?
Legionella bacteria can be found in most water systems, but don’t usually cause any problems.
Here is how you can help to keep bacteria numbers low and prevent disease in your own home:
1. Flush through your system by running the taps and shower (if you have one) for at least 5 minutes if you have been away on holiday for a week or more, or if you haven’t used a particular tap in a very long time, for example, an outside tap.
2. Keep all showerheads and taps clean and free from a build-up of limescale, mould or dirt. Showerheads should be disinfected at least once every few months.
3. Make sure that the hot water tank and cylinder in your home is set to a temperature of between 55˚C and 65˚C. WARNING: Please be aware of the risk of scalding.
4. Report any concerns about low hot water temperatures, low water flow, defective taps, boiler issues or anything unusual that may come out of your tap or shower straight away to us.
5. More information on Legionnaires’ disease can be found at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/legionnaires-disease
6. If you have any questions or need help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
Falcon Rural Housing Limited, Falcon House, 3a South Street, Wellington, Somerset. TA21 8NR
Telephone: 01823 667343