Legionella bacteria is a pathogen that lives and grows in water, and can, and does, make people sick. It is important to know as much as possible about what is in the water that we use every day.
Here is everything you need to know about legionella bacteria, and how and why you should test for it.
What is it?
Legionellosis is a collection of infections of varying severity, most usually caused by inhaling legionella bacteria in water droplets. The worst of the infections is Legionnaire’s Disease, a deadly form of pneumonia. Legionellosis can affect anyone, but it is more likely to be deadly for those with other risk factors, like age, immunosuppression issues, and other illnesses. Most people who are exposed to legionellosis do not get ill at all and it is not spread from person to person, and not usually through drinking water. Instead, these bacteria are transmitted through inhaled water droplets from a contaminated source, such as cooling towers, swimming pools, refrigerators, whirlpools, fountains, showers and other man-made sources.
How does it get there?
Legionella bacteria is widespread in groundwater, lakes and streams, and in soils and mud. Instead of testing for it, it is more usual to assume its presence, and to combat the dangers by keeping conditions for its growth to a minimum. Proper water temperature, water stagnation and biofilm (slime left behind after water or humidity has been present) is the environment that the bacteria need to grow in. Temperature is the best way to control legionella bacteria. It grows best between 25 and 50 degrees C, or 77 to 122 degrees F. The bacteria die at higher temperatures, and remain dormant at lower temperatures.
Should you test water for it?
Water is essential for life, of course, and something no one can live without. It is concerning that something so deadly might be lurking within, just waiting for a chance to grow. There are other things within the water supply as well and testing water, especially well water, is something that should be part of your home safety routine. But is it necessary to be concerned about legionella bacteria specifically?
It depends on your family and your own needs. While the risk of contracting deadly legionella illnesses are relatively low for healthy adults, it does and can happen to anyone. For those at risk, just knowing the amount and prevalence of the bacteria will make a big difference to health management, and to your peace of mind.
Test your water at least once a year, and after any big environmental change, and learn more about legionella bacteria and other water concerns. As for management, don’t let any warm water in your home stand for a period of time. Keep areas and pipes clean where film from water accumulates. It is better to be safe.
Easy, Affordable Water Testing with AquaKnow
Contact us at AquaKnow for all your water testing concerns. We will send you a test kit based on potential dangers and recommend tests according to your specific issues. All the instructions on how to test will be there. It’s easy to do. Water is life, and you should know what is in your water.