Hot tub water temperatures vary between 90-104 degrees. Life threatening bacteria can thrive in this warm-water environment. Without proper maintenance, hot tubs and spas become little factories for the mass production of bacteria, including the organism that causes Legionnaire’s Disease. Read on to learn how you can avoid contracting this serious disease to prevent personal injury or even death.
What is Legionnaire’s Disease?
Legionnaire’s Disease is caused by the bacteria Legionella. The disease got its name when an outbreak of the disease occurred at a convention of the American Legion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report on Legionnaire’s Disease, states that as many as 8,000 to 18,000 people each year are hospitalized with the disease in the United States. The actual count is much higher as many cases are misdiagnosed as simple pneumonia. The symptoms include high fever, chills, and cough, and some may experience muscle aches and headaches. Those infected usually begin to notice symptoms within 10 days of exposure to the Legionella bacteria. If not treated it can be fatal.
What kind of conditions foster Legionella?
Legionella bacteria naturally occurs in natural and man-made bodies of water. It lives in municipal and natural water systems in low concentrations and without public danger. However, when the Legionella gets in hot tubs, they amplify in scale, sediment and biofilm in the tub system. It spreads when the water containing the bacteria is aerosolized in water vapor and inhaled into the lungs. When people breathe in the mist or vapor they breathe in water contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. Breathing in the vicinity of a hot tub or spa that has not been properly maintained and cleaned is one of the most common forms of transmission.
If proper attention is paid to filters, PH and chlorine levels, the bacteria dies and the chance of contracting Legionnaire’s disease from hot tubs and spas is eliminated.
How can you protect yourself from Legionella?
Safety Precautions for Private Hot Tubs
In private hot tubs and spas, simple water tests and the application of chemicals will prevent the growth of the bacteria and spread of the disease. Most people who own hot tubs are familiar with how to properly care for a hot tub to continue healthy conditions.
Hot Tub Safety While Traveling
A lot of families travel in the summer months while kids are out of school, and traveling often means fun hotel getaways and relaxing in the hotel’s pool and hot tub. If your family is planning to stay in a hotel and enjoy the hot tubs and spas, contact the hotel maintenance department and request a test to ensure the spas and pool water is safe and clean with appropriate disinfectants. If the hotel refuses, find another one. Most hotels will gladly comply with such a request and then you and your family can relax and enjoy the hot tub or spa with peace of mind.
Personal Injury and Legionnaire’s Disease
If you or someone you care about contracted Legionnaire’s Disease while in a hotel pool or spa and you’re looking for the right lawyer to represent you, I welcome you to contact the law offices of Frank Penney. I can help get proper compensation for you, and protect other families from being affected by the neglect of some establishments. I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and enjoyable summer.