Protection against Legionella in drinking water & Co.
Legionella is everywhere in the world. The bacteria are a natural component of surface waters as well as groundwater. About the breathing they reach the lungs. This can be the case when showering over the misted water. In humans, they can cause flu-like symptoms or trigger fatal pneumonia.
Water temperatures are crucial
Active bacteria from a water temperature of 20 degrees. Between 25 to 45 degrees they find optimal conditions for propagation, especially in artificial water pipes in buildings. Over 60 degrees is over, they do not survive here. At less than 20 degrees water temperature they are inactive, with propagation it is at these grades nothing.
Turn on hot water regularly
Legionella actually hit the headlines every summer. Especially in this time of year, the water pipes are often closed for weeks by holiday trips. The lukewarm in the pipes standing drinking water then provides good growth conditions for the germs. It is recommended that neighbors or acquaintances turn on all faucets during their absence at a rate of three days hot and so the pipes are rinsed for a few minutes. The same applies to the arrival in a holiday apartment, which may have been empty before, as well as when returning home: the regular exchange of water prevents the stagnation of the water in the pipes and thus the formation of bacteria. While the water is turned up for cleaning, you should leave the bathroom and ventilate the room.
Maintenance and Care
Legionella can also be found in air conditioning systems in the car or in offices. The systems should be regularly maintained and cleaned. Inhalers and humidifiers also provide a breeding ground, which is removed by regular cleaning. Shower heads, faucets and demountable fittings should be decalcified and disinfected at least every six months to prevent them from spreading.
What does the disease look like in Legionella?
Legionella pneumonia, also known as legionnaires' disease, causes severe pneumonia lasting about four weeks and can be fatal in every ten cases. It starts with chest and headaches, cough, chills and fever and should be treated with antibiotics. This disease was first described in 1976, when a meeting of the American War Veterans Association American Legion in Philadelphia 181 people fell ill by the droplet infection caused pneumonia. The pathogens had settled in the air conditioning of the hotel.
A second clinical picture is the Pontiac fever. The symptoms are similar to flu with fever, malaise, headache and body aches. Within 2 to 5 days, this disease sneaks back out. Only the fever is treated.
Who should take special care?
Particularly at risk are people with a weakened immune system, the chronically ill (lungs, heart, diabetes, inflammatory rheumatism) as well as the elderly and babies. Children are rarely affected.
It is checked regularly
According to the Drinking Water Ordinance, which has been in force since the end of 2011, all residential complexes had to be examined for the first time by the end of 2013. This test is to be repeated every three years. Exceptions to this are one- and two-family houses. For public facilities such as swimming pools or hospitals there is an annual examination requirement.
No reason to panic
Experts warn against scare tactics. Since the Legionella are under observation through regulations and more frequent tests, the number of findings has increased. However, this does not mean that the incidence of Legionnaire's disease is increasing, which is less common in our latitudes than in warmer countries.