Do I Need A Legionella Risk Assessment?

Not everyone who gets exposed to legionella gets infected by it. Read the following guidance below on the people and situations that are most susceptible, so that you can work out if you need a Legionella Risk Assessment.

Some people who are at a greater risk of developing the disease include:

  • Old age people (greater than 50 years)
  • Smokers
  • Those already having a chronic lung disease
  • Those having a weak immune system
  • People with cancer
Legionnaires’ disease presents as a severe case of pneumonia and the usual signs and symptoms may include the following:
  • Fever with chills and rigors
  • A cough that can be dry or associated with sputum
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion or other neurological problems
How does it harm you?
Legionnaires’ disease is an uncommon but lethal disease. It primarily infects the lungs, however, in some cases it can also affect wounds and other parts of the body including the heart.

This disease is usually treated successfully with prompt administration of antibiotics. However, if the treatment is delayed or not done in an adequate way, this disease can lead to some fatal complications which may include:

  • Respiratory Failure: It occurs when the infection has damaged the lungs to a degree that they can no longer oxygenate the blood to supply oxygen to the body tissues and effectively remove carbon dioxide from them.
  • Acute Kidney Failure: This infection can affect kidneys to a point where they cannot perform their function of blood filtration. As a result, harmful toxins and waste products do not get excreted and get accumulated inside the body exerting extremely detrimental effects.
  • Sepsis: Legionnaires’ disease can cause an overwhelming infection that can lead to septic shock where multiple organs fail to perform their function. It is a very dangerous state with high rates of morbidity and mortality.
Most people recover from the disease with proper treatment with antibiotics but around 10-15% otherwise healthy people who get this disease, die of complications like the ones mentioned above.

How to prevent it?
Prevention is always better than the cure. Legionnaires’ disease is preventable but requires systematic water safety plans. Elements of such kind of plan can include the following:
  • Cooling the water either below 20 degrees centigrade or heating it above 60 degrees centigrade.
  • eeping the water supply clean and avoiding stagnation.
  • isinfecting the water systems frequently by different methods like chlorination, high heat, chemical biocides, copper-silver ionization, and ultraviolet light when appropriate.
  • esigning systems in such a way that they minimize aerosols production and human exposure to them. On an individual’s hand, avoiding smoking and pollution can be the most important measures that can significantly reduce the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease.