Water hygiene

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia. Anybody can catch it, but it is more likely to affect the elderly, if you have a chest, lung or other serious health problem. It is caused by inhaling small drops of water from contaminated bacteria. Not everyone exposed will become ill and you can’t get it from drinking water.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are very similar to flu:

  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Raised temperature
  • Fever or chills
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pain

Legionella can be found in spray from showers and taps and even in dishwashers, although the risk of Legionnaires’ disease in a domestic property is rated as low risk.

Ways to prevent it

  • If your taps aren’t used for a week or more, each tap should be run or flushed
  • If your home is empty for long periods of time, for example two weeks or more, you should flush and clean the hot and cold taps and your shower
  • Flush your shower heads on a regular basis
  • If you have any taps that aren’t used on a regular basis, make sure you flush these out too
  • Keep tap and shower heads free from limescale where possible, if not, flush or use the outlets regularly.