Flushing showers could prevent life-threatening legionnaire’s disease

Doctor who runs his shower for 20 minutes every time he comes back from holiday says this habit could save you from life-threatening legionnaire’s disease.

Flush showers which are not regularly used to prevent cases of the potentially deadly legionnaire’s disease.

Extracted from an article published on MailOnline website on 13 July 2019.

  • “Microbiologist Dr Tom Makin runs his shower for 20 minutes after periods away
  • The ritual is designed to minimise the chances of Dr Makin inhaling legionella
  • The potentially lethal bacteria thrive in the stagnant water which collects in domestic shower heads when they are unused for anything more than a few days

‘I cover my nose and mouth with one hand and turn on the shower with the other,’ he says. ‘After 20 minutes or so, I’ll turn the shower off and then I won’t go back into the bathroom for at least another 20 minutes.’

This strange ritual has nothing to do with superstition or obsessive behaviour. Instead, it is designed to minimise the chances of Dr Makin, or any of his family, inhaling potentially lethal bacteria – called legionella – that thrive in the stagnant water which collects in domestic shower heads when they are unused for anything more than a few days.

It may sound over-cautious but without this preventive action, contaminated droplets of water could be inhaled deep into the lungs where they can cause legionnaire’s disease, a condition which triggers potentially life-threatening pneumonia and organ failure.”

To read the full article click here.


With multiple showers, legionella is a big risk for hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs 

Legionella Control.com state that “One key point to note is that legionella bacteria will multiply far more readily in stagnant water, i.e. water that is not moving. This is where flushing comes in. There may be parts of the water system that are not regularly used. For example, in a hotel during the off season, there could be rooms that are often empty. In this situation, a plan should be put in place to ensure these little-used taps, showers, other water outlets, and sections of the water system are thoroughly flushed through on a regular basis. This should be done at least once a week to ensure that stagnant water conditions are avoided and to minimise the possible build-up of bacteria.”

Legionella is transmitted by breathing it in the form of vapour. That is why showers are especially high risk.

Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs therefore need to carry our risk assessments, take steps to prevent outbreaks and keep accurate records of routine inspections and test results.

Without a robust system it’s hard to know when tasks are due, manage the effectiveness of measures, and demonstrate the precautions you are taking should you need to prove compliance to a regulatory body.

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