Legionella bacteria are found in streams, rivers and lakes. They are also found in soil, compost and mains water and can sometimes enter a home’s water system.
Legionnaires’ disease is transmitted by inhalation of contaminated water droplets, like spray from a shower or taps. Anyone can catch it, but most sufferers tend to be over 50 years old. Anyone with a weak immune system, an underlying condition or those who smoke are at greater risk.
You cannot get Legionnaires’ disease from drinking water.
To keep bacteria numbers low and prevent disease:
- Flush through taps/showers for a couple of minutes following a period of non-use i.e after you have been on holiday
- Descale your taps and shower heads at least every 3 months
- Drain hosepipes after use and keep out of direct sunlight
- Keep stored hot water in your system at a temperature of 50c or greater (immersion heaters etc). Please be aware of the risk of scalding.