Legionella in your morning coffee?
Huzzah! Legionella awareness is on the up. People are becoming aware of the risks, taking action to minimise it, and learning about the possible symptoms. With more awareness, it is more likely that less and less people will be affected by Legionnaires’ Disease.
However, in speaking with other people about Legionella (because I am so full of exciting and lively conversation) many people aren’t aware of where they should actually take action in prevention. They don’t know what is totally safe with little or no risk, and what systems they should take care of. If you’re the same, I have compiled below some FAQ’s on Legionnaires’ Disease and whereabouts, so you can take whatever steps you may need to feel safe.
“Is it safe for me to take showers?”
“Please do!” Cry your friends, who have learnt that deodorant doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Legionnaires’ Disease can easily be prevented. The bacteria can multiply in hot water pipes and hot water systems with a storage tank (such as an domestic immersion cylinder). If the temperature of this water is between 25° and 55° Celsius, then legionella bacteria can grow. At temperatures higher than 60° C the bacteria will die rapidly, so the temperature of your hot water system needs to be set to at least 60°C. Because of the spray from showers you could inhale and become infected by water that is harbouring the bacteria. But as long as your water system is safe then so are your showers! If you’re not 100% sure we can offer water system inspections, or to be extra safe, just use the bath!
“Is there a risk of being infected via the tap; for example while doing the dishes?”
You’re not getting out of doing the dishes that easily ! Same applies as for the shower, as long as your water is stored above 60°C you’re totally fine.
“Is there a risk of infection when using a coffee-maker?”
THANK THE LORD NO. If any of you are as coffee mad as me, you can rest easy knowing your morning brew is totally safe. The water is well above 60°C in a coffee maker or boiled kettle so there is no chance for Legionella to grow.
“Is there a risk of infection when using a steam iron?”
For the same reasons as the coffee maker, your steam iron is totally safe ! So your favourite shirt can stay crisp and tidy always.
“Is it safe to use a plant spray if it has been on the windowsill (in the sun) for some time?”
Whilst the risk isn’t high, We strongly recommend that you drain the water from the plant spray after use and refill it before using it again. Your roses will thank you !
“Am I at risk if I use the sprinkler in the garden to water my lawn?”
If a cold tap water is used, there will a minimal risk; the temperature in this kind of system will rarely reach or remain above 25° Celsius for a prolonged period of time. However, if you are using a (flexible) garden hose that has been in the sun for a long period of time, is not used often and contains stagnant water, then there is an increased risk of bacterial growth. It is important to completely drain the garden hose after it has been used or flush through at least weekly.
“What is the risk of being infected in my private swimming pool?”
Lucky you! There is no risk if the swimming water is chlorinated and circulated correctly. For showers at the swimming pool the same applies as for all other showers, hot water pipes and hot water systems: a minimum temperature of 60° Celsius for the water in the boiler.
“I own a whirlpool bath. Is it safe for me to use it?”
Please see my last blog post! It contains everything you need to know about the risks and prevention in hot tubs and spas.
I have tried to narrow down the most common questions we get regarding where Legionella is found. But if you have any more questions, or any specific things you want to know about please don’t hesitate to contact me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 01789 330830