Tidying up and sweeping your home will keep it clean. But will it be kept free and clear of harmful bacteria? And more importantly, is the home environment the only possible source of harmful bacteria?

There are different sources of bacteria in any environment — your home and elsewhere. One of the more critical sources has to be your water system, which can be contaminated with the Legionella bacterium, which can cause a fatal lung disease known as Legionnaires’. Commonly found in natural water systems as well as warm standing water, particularly domestic waters systems, the Legionella bacterium can thrive in very specific environments, sometimes even water systems you might not even consider.

A recent case prompted local authorities to investigate when an individual who was ill with Legionnaires’ died. After assessing the individual’s living environment, authorities learned that the family car’s windscreen reservoir was positive for the Legionella bacterium. Windscreen washers can be contaminated with the bacteria when tap water is used to refill the reservoir.

Authorities explain that the bacteria could have been easily killed with the use of commercially available screen wash additives, which come with chemicals that eliminate the risk for getting the deadly disease.

Other than using such products to prevent the possibility of getting Legionnaires’, it is recommended that you use a Legionella testing kit. This kit, which can easily be purchased online from a reputable and legitimate source, allows you to identify which water sources in and around your home contain the bacteria.

The process for collecting samples is fairly simple but they will vary depending on the source of collection. Your kit will have instructions, of course. Properly collected samples will maintain controlled testing. But it doesn’t end there because your samples should be sent to a UKAS-certified laboratory to guarantee that testing is done in a proper environment using the standard protocols. Every step in this process should assure you that results are accurate.

It is not enough to maintain a clean and tidy home in ensuring your health and well-being. People who live with seniors, have children, and take care of individuals with compromised immune systems especially need to keep their environments free and clear of the deadly bacteria, as they are susceptible to Legionella.

Using the appropriate testing kit will allow you to discover which water systems in your home, as well as other water sources (i.e. your car’s windscreen reservoir), may be contaminated with the bacteria. So get a kit today. And minimise your risk for Legionnaires’ disease.

+Duncan Hollis