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Microbiologist announces that he runs his shower for 20 minutes after periods away so as to minimise the chances of inhaling legionella

Microbiologist announces that he runs his shower for 20 minutes after periods away so as to minimise the chances of inhaling legionella

18 July 2019

Earlier this week the national news reported that microbiologist, Dr Tom Makin, has one very important ritual whenever he returns home from a holiday or extended period away from home; he makes sure he turns on his shower before dashing out the room and firmly shutting the door.

Makin states that he leaves the shower running for 20 minutes or so, turns it off and then won't re-enter the bathroom for at least a further 20 minutes. Sound strange? Well, this ritual has nothing to do with OCD or superstition and all to do with bacteria, specifically legionella bacteria.

Legionella bacteria thrives in stagnant water and is a life threatening water-borne bacterium which can be present in many environments where there are both natural and man-made water systems. This includes domestic shower heads, especially when they're unused for a period of time.

Download free Controlling Legionella whitepaper looking at the causes and strategies to prevent legionella.

Legionella Bacteria - a deadly risk

By carrying out his ritual, Makin, who has spent over 30 years studying outbreaks, ensures that neither he nor his family will inhale contaminated droplets of water. If inhaled deep into the lungs, the legionella bacteria can cause legionnaire's disease, a condition which triggers potentially life threatening pneumonia and organ failure.

Summer time is when the risk of legionella and legionnaire's disease is at its peak due to the warmer weather. Other households areas in which the bacteria can thrive include water butts, pipes and even garden hoses/sprinklers. This means that even the simplest of household tasks could result in a potenially fatal infection.

Download free Guide to Legionella Prevention.

Want to minimise your risk of legionella bacteria and legionnaire's disease?

The best way to do keep risk to a minimum is to ensure staff are properly trained and fully understand their role.

Courses offered by DTL include:

Legionella: Role of the Responsible Person / Duty Holder / Landlord (WS1)

2 day course for understanding the role of the responsible person for effective implementation and control of risk assessments. 1 day refresher course also available.

Legionella and ACOP L8 Awareness (WS11)

1 day course for compliance to control the risk and understand legionella bacteria, potential hazards and responsibilities.

Management of Legionella Bacteria in Hot and Cold Water Systems (WS2)

2 day course for the control of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems. Compliance with L8 Fourth edition. 1 day refresher course also available.

Water Hygiene/Competent Person (Healthcare) (WS4)

2 day course for an awareness of water hygiene in healthcare premises. Learn to prevent contamination of water supply and outlets.

Legionellosis: Cooling towers, Management and Control (WS6)

2 day course to manage and control the risk of legionella bacteria in cooling towers.

Legionella Risk Assessment of Commercial Hot and Cold Water Systems (WS8)

2 day course for competency in conducting legionella risk assessments of larger hot and cold water systems. ACOP L8 / BS 8580-1:2019.

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