The bacteria which causes Legionnaires’ disease can be commonly found in natural bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and streams. Even after the disinfection process carried out by the water suppliers, a small population of the bacteria manage to find their way into the water supply of residences and commercial facilities. This is because the bacteria are resistant to many disinfection procedures.
The bacteria becomes a real threat to the health and well-being of your family when the right conditions for their multiplication are present; examples are the availability of food sources and the optimal temperature range which is between 20-45°C. At temperatures below 20°C, the bacteria can lie dormant while at a temperature of 60°C, the bacteria cannot survive.
Showerheads in particular create the optimal conditions for Legionella and other bacteria to thrive as the physical conditions on the showerheads change with every use. Scale is an ideal food source for legionella bacteria therefore it is imperative that showers are descaled regularly.
Biofilms will also form within the showerhead and hose over time and if not removed by regular cleaning, will harbor legionella and other bacteria as it provides an ever increasing food source. Since Legionnaires Disease is contracted by inhaling infected water in the form of an aerosol, showering becomes a high risk activity if the showerhead and hose are not kept clean and scale free.
How can you protect your family from the threat of Legionella bacteria?
Showerheads, especially those that are used infrequently, should be flushed out at least once a week. These should also be cleaned and de-scaled every three months.