Can I Get Legionnaires’ Disease From My Shower?
Posted by Michael Kiernan
As the 2020 intake prepare for their first term at university this autumn, it’s only natural they’ll be concerned for their safety within their halls of residence, and when they’re off campus enjoying their social lives.
SARS-Cov-2 isn’t the only potentially lethal bug to watch out for in University halls of residence; one common worry is that shower facilities in student accommodation can harbour Legionnaires’ disease, an anxiety that isn’t entirely unfounded. In May 2020, 400 students at were temporarily rehoused due to a potential risk of infection in their halls of residence although, fortunately, none were exposed to the disease.
For managers of high-density university accommodation it is, therefore, important to understand how the risk of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak can be mitigated to ensure students are safe and able to access high-quality, durable showers that will also withstand heavy usage.
What Is Legionnaires’ Disease?
Named after an outbreak of illness at a Philadelphia hotel in 1976 where the Pennsylvania American Legion was meeting for a convention, Legionnaires’ Disease is a rare, but serious, lung infection that can be contracted by inhaling water droplets contaminated with the Legionella bacteria from large scale water systems, including shower and toilet facilities, air conditioning, and hot tubs.
Like other types of pneumonia, Legionnaires’ Disease is characterised by a fever, persistent cough, headaches, muscle aches, and shortness of breath – similar symptoms, in fact, to you-know-what, but far more likely to affect younger people.
While the illness cannot be transmitted between people, the lengthy incubation time – ranging from two days to two weeks – means there is the potential for large-scale infection in halls of residence where significant numbers of students could come into contact with the bacteria before signs of infection become apparent.
With Covid-19 sharing many of the symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease, facilities managers need to be confident that they have taken decisive steps to prevent a Legionella outbreak as, in the current climate, it is likely a sudden infection could be erroneously diagnosed.
Preventing Mass Infection In Student Accommodation
To comply with health and safety legislation, property managers should carry out the following steps:
- Ensure that hot water cylinders store water at a minimum temperature of 60°C.
- Check that hot water is distributed at 50°C or higher, with thermostatic mixer valves to control the temperature of shower water to prevent scalding.
- Ensure that cold water is stored below 20°C.
- Regularly run showers at a high temperature for at least two minutes if accommodation is out of use, for example after university holidays.
- Make sure that showers, shower heads, and fittings (such as shower controls) are cleaned regularly using a suitable disinfectant. This will ensure that bacteria cannot linger in contact areas that could be easily transmitted to students, causing them to fall ill.
Our Innovative Cost-Effective Solutions
We realise that thorough preventative measures are often time-consuming and costly. With this in mind, Advanced Showers have partnered with Challis Showers (the UK’s largest manufacturer of anti-microbial showers) to provide you with quick, easy, cost-effective and safe solutions, which include Ag+ Shower Scheme and the innovative Challis Ag+ WMS
Shower Pods By Advanced Showers: The Hygienic Solution For Student Accommodation
With showers in student halls of residence requiring regular cleaning, it’s vital that this can be completed quickly and thoroughly. At Advanced Showers, our shower pods are constructed from durable GRP that is effortless to clean and, without the need for acrylic seals and tiles that can accumulate dirt and bacteria, you’ll never need to worry about carrying out inconvenient repairs.
For more information about shower pods for your student accommodation, download our free Shower Pods Guide here, or feel free to get in touch.
Image source: Pixabay