Legionella - Harmful germs may be growing in your home plumbing

Harmful Germs May Be Growing in Thorold Home Plumbing

Learn to protect yourself and others in your home from Legionella

(NC) There is a group of nasty bacteria that could land in Thorold homes. The harmful germs could be finding a path into hot tubs, humidifiers, water heaters, showerheads and other places in plumbing systems in residences across Canada. Known as Legionella, these bacteria can make people sick if inhaled from water droplets and mists released into the air.

Legionella tend to grow where there are warm water temperatures, standing or still water and settled particles and biofilms — a slimy, glue-like material containing other germs and nutrients. Fortunately, most healthy people don’t get sick from these bacteria.

But some people may have a higher risk of infection, including people over 40 years of age, current and former smokers, people with chronic lung disease or with other underlying illnesses, and those with already weakened immune systems.

Legionella can cause two types of illness, Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious respiratory illness that results in pneumonia, lasting weeks to months, and can lead to death.

Pontiac fever is a milder illness, causing flu-like symptoms. People with Pontiac fever generally recover in two to five days without treatment.

Protect persons in your home from Legionella by:

• Keeping your water heater temperature at a minimum of 60°C. To reduce the risk of scalding, the temperature of the water at the tap should be no higher than 49°C. You can contact a qualified plumber to install mixing valves to control the tap water temperature.
• Regularly cleaning and disinfecting mist-producing devices in your home, such as showerheads and sink taps, humidifiers and hot tubs, according to manufacturer directions.
• Running the hot and cold water taps for a few minutes after not using them for more than two weeks.
• Periodically draining and flushing your water heater, according to manufacturer directions, to reduce settled particles.

Find more information by searching “Legionella” at canada.ca.