Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory illness that’s caused by a bacteria known as Legionella. This bacteria can result in a lung infection similar to pneumonia that, in people with compromised immune systems, such as the very young or very old, can prove fatal. Typically, those who fall ill to Legionnaires’ disease experience symptoms very similar to a moderate case of the flu.
The key to preventing and beating Legionnaires’ disease is knowing what it involves, from its causes to its symptoms, how it spreads, and its treatment options. Just as there are certain age groups that are more susceptible to Legionnaires’ disease, there are certain places and conditions where the Legionella bacteria is most likely to grow and flourish.
Preventing Legionnaires’ disease can be difficult. For one, there are no vaccines that can effectively prevent the Legionella bacteria from infecting an individual. Second, it can be difficult to tell if a building’s water systems are likely to become contaminated with the Legionella bacteria and become a serious health risk for those living in that building. (It’s worth noting that, because they don’t use water to cool the air, home and car air-conditioning devices are highly unlikely to pose a threat in this way.)
The key to preventing this kind of contamination involves using disinfectants to keep water systems as clean as possible. This is especially important when hot water is involved — such as for the purposes of warming water tanks or hot tubs — as the Legionella bacteria is most likely to flourish in this environment.