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SanAir Technologies Laboratory, Inc.

AIHA accredited environmental microbiology laboratory, specializing in testing for asbestos, mold, lead & metals, and bacteria. Free overnight shipping.

Symptoms of Legionella in The Water

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What is Legionella?

Legionnaires’ disease is a very serious type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by bacteria called Legionella. You can get Legionnaires’ disease if you breathe in tiny droplets of water containing the Legionella bacteria that causes the infection. It’s usually caught in places like hotels, hospitals, or in office buildings where the bacteria has gotten into the water supply. It’s less common to catch it at home.

There are some common symptoms that are similar to symptoms of other medical conditions. Basically if you develop pneumonia-like symptoms and may have been exposed to Legionella, you should see a doctor right away. Be sure to mention if you have used a hot tub, spent any nights away from home, or stayed in a hospital in the last two weeks.

People can also get infected by aspiration of drinking water containing Legionella. This happens when water accidently goes into the lungs while drinking. People at increased risk of aspiration include those with swallowing difficulties. It’s a serious health risk if exposed, although it can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a physician. Most people who get sick will require care in a hospital but make a full recovery. However, about 1 out of 10 people who get Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection, either due to increased risk or not seeking treatment.

Symptoms of Legionella

Legionnaires’ Disease symptoms are similar to those caused by Pneumonia. Severe muscle aches, fever, and headaches are all early symptoms. After the second or third day, a cough, which might bring up mucus and sometimes blood, shortness of breath, chest pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and confusion or other mental changes may be present.

Doctors may use chest x-rays or urine and sputum (phlegm) tests to see if your symptoms are actually caused by Legionella. If symptoms appear, seek medical attention and be sure to mention if you spent any nights away from home in the last 14 days. Your local health department can determine whether to investigate since others may have been exposed at the same source.

Groups of People at Increased Risk

Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. Yet it’s important to note there are specific groups of people who are at an increased risk.

  • Being 50 years or older or having certain risk factors can increase your chances of getting sick.
  • Being a current or former smoker is a major risk factor
  • Having chronic lung disease, such as emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Having a weakened immune system from diseases like cancer, diabetes, or kidney failure
  • Taking medication that weakens your immune system increases your risk.

Read more about SanAir Technologies Laboratory specialized analysis and contact us for further assistance. We use a two-step process for the identification of Legionella species from water sources. SanAir Provides Legionella Sample Kits complete with all necessary collection tools and free overnight shipping for all incoming samples.

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