Legionnaire’s Disease: Symptoms, Causes & Prevention Strategies

Legionnaire's Disease

Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Legionella pneumophila, typically found in fresh water systems. While anyone can become infected with Legionnaire’s disease, it’s most commonly found in those over the age of 50 and people with other medical conditions such as lung diseases, weakened immune systems, or cancer. Symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease include fever, chills, muscle aches, coughing, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, confusion and diarrhea may also occur.

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Legionnaire’s disease is typically contracted by breathing in small droplets of water, known as aerosols, that contain the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease. These aerosols can come from air conditioning units, hot tubs, or cooling towers that are contaminated with Legionella.

Prevention & Health

The best way to prevent Legionnaire’s disease is to maintain your indoor air quality and take steps to ensure that any cooling towers, air conditioning units, or hot tubs are free from bacteria and other contaminants. Additionally, proper maintenance of cooling towers is extremely important as they can become a breeding ground for Legionella. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends regular inspection, flushing, and chemical treatment of cooling towers to ensure that Legionella does not build up in the system.

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If you believe you may have been exposed to Legionella or are exhibiting symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Treatment for Legionnaire’s disease typically includes antibiotics and/or fluids and should be administered as soon as possible to reduce the risk of serious complications. With prompt and proper treatment, most cases of Legionnaire’s disease will resolve without any further complications.

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