Below you can find some practical guidelines for preventing possible infection with Legionnaires’ disease.
The risk of being infected can be decreased by taking the following precautions. Make sure you save these guidelines!
Tips for at home
Make sure the temperature of the water in the shower is at least 60o Celsius at the hydrant, as the bacteria cannot survive in temperatures higher than 60o Celsius. You can measure the temperature of the hot, unmixed water by using a thermometer and a bucket.
When you have been away for a few days, it is advisable to flush out the pipes with cold or hot water to make sure the water is really cold or hot. Prevent misting and make sure the room is ventilated properly.
If you have a whirlpool bath that you have not used for a long period, fill the bath with water at 60o Celsius then turn on the whirlpool. Drain the bath after ten minutes. You could also clean the bath with cleansing agents used for swimming pools.
There might be a risk if your humidifier works by producing a fine mist. By using boiled water, and cleaning the humidifier and changing the water weekly, you can prevent contamination.
The water in a plant spray that has been in the sun needs to be changed before you use it. As well as the requirement to have a storage tank that keeps the water at a constant temperature of above 60o Celsius, solar boilers also need to be installed and adjusted properly.
It is important to completely drain the garden hose after it has been used. It is also better not to use a sprinkler which produces a fine mist for the garden.
There is no danger of infection from: coffee-makers, steam irons, bath tubs, water pistols and the air conditioning in your car.
If you are concerned about the safety of your hot water system, please contact your Water Board (waterleidingbedrijf). If you suspect contamination, inform your Regional Health Service (GGD) immediately.
Guidelines for when abroad
Legionnaires’ disease also occurs abroad, and the risk is particularly high in warm countries. Below you will find some extra guidelines.
If the water in the shower at your hotel or campsite does not need to be mixed with cold water when the thermostat is set at the highest position, it is better not to use the shower. Immediately register a complaint with the owner, the travel agency or Stichting Veteranenziekte.
Taking a bath is always preferable to taking a shower. If there is no bath, use a wash cloth.