The Only Guide You Need on Legionella in Water Systems
Most outbreaks of the disease are happening in large buildings such as schools, hotels, gyms, restaurants, factories, and other commercial and property management buildings, where the bacteria has grown and spread throughout the water system. Many of these types of buildings were closed for long periods of time due to COVID lockdowns, and now as they begin to re-open, we’re seeing a spike in cases of Legionnaires’ Disease across the country. In hospitals and nursing homes especially, where germs spread with ease and patients are vulnerable to infection—Legionnaires’ Disease can present a significant danger. Intellihot is committed to combating the rise of Legionella bacteria in buildings by providing information and products to keep you safe.
What Is Legionella?
Legionella is the name of a category of bacteria responsible for causing the so-called Legionnaires’ disease. This is a serious form of pneumonia that can be particularly harmful to certain groups of people.
How Does Legionella Spread?
Legionella is found in freshwater areas, such as lakes, rivers, and streams. If present in very small concentration, it doesn’t tend to cause any problem. However, when this bacteria grows and enters residential or commercial water systems, it can become a concern.
Legionella bacteria can infiltrate building water systems, including faucets, showerheads, hot tubs, fountains and water features, hot water tanks, and thrives in old, stagnant water.
What Are the Symptoms of Legionella?
Not everyone who is exposed to the bacteria automatically contracts the disease or manifests any symptoms. Those who do can develop two different types of illnesses: Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever.
This illness is a type of lung infection very similar to pneumonia. Symptoms can include cough, fever, headaches, difficulty breathing, and body aches. Less frequently, this disease can manifest itself through other symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, and confusion.
Symptoms tend to appear two to ten days after contact with the bacteria, although they have been known to begin as late as two weeks after exposure.
This is a milder type of illness compared to Legionnaires’ disease, and it’s not a lung infection. The main symptoms of Pontiac Fever are high temperature and body aches. Its onset is also different from Legionnaires’ disease, as it generally occurs between a few hours to three days after exposure.
Who Is More at Risk of Developing Serious Legionella Symptoms?
As we mentioned earlier, not everyone who gets exposed to the Legionella bacteria will get sick. In fact, if you are young and generally fit and healthy, chances are that you will be fine. Some people, however, are at higher risk of developing serious symptoms, and these include the elderly, immuno-compromised people, smokers, people with a chronic illness or with cancer, and people with underlying health conditions.
What Can You Do to Prevent Legionella?
To prevent both Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac Fever, it’s imperative to reduce and control the risk of Legionella growth and transmission in water systems. You can achieve this by making sure that your building water systems are clean and well-maintained, as well as monitor your water regularly for Legionella bacteria. Legionella bacteria thrive in old, stagnant waters, so you should always ensure that the water you use in your building is always fresh and running.
How can tankless water heaters mitigate my risks?
How Can Intellihot Help?
The days of enormous, expensive tanks — so heavy they often need to be installed via helicopter — are over. Gone too are the health dangers these tanks produce, such as the increasing prevalence of Legionnaires’ Disease, which is brought on by bacteria that grow in the stagnant water created by the outmoded hot-water technology.
Instead, Intellihot offers business owners compact, efficient, environmentally friendly machines that greatly decrease energy usage and produce only as much hot water as needed. The savings are nearly incalculable in terms of energy, money, and effort.
Additionally, Intellihot’s models use AI to constantly analyze their own performance, monitoring their output and predicting when parts will need replacing. So instead of worrying about their water systems and hoping they don’t simply quit, owners can relax knowing the Intellihot unit will inform them of any impending issues that could lead to a breakdown. Preventive maintenance can be performed without any loss of service, all in an efficient, environmentally friendly package.
Did You Know?
Legionella was first identified in 1976 after an outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. The bacteria was found in the water system and affected 183 people, resulting in 24 deaths. Temperature is always a critical factor in the colonization of Legionella.