Legionella is a bacteria which is found in water. It can lead to a serious lung infection know as legionnaires' disease, which is potentially fatal. The disease is usually caused by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. It can be found in water systems in homes.
- We'll carry out individual risk assessment of water systems in our sheltered and supported schemes every two years, and general risk assessments in all other homes, to manage and monitor the risk. We employ specialist water consultants to help us with this process.
What you can do
- When you first move into your home, run the bath and sink taps continuously for at least five minutes. This will flush through any bacteria.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly when you come in from outside.
- Throw away any standing water in your home- don't let it grow mouldy or stagnant.
- If your shower has not been used for a week or more, run the water from both hot and cold supplies for two minutes. To ensure that no spray escapes from the showerhead, run it through a bucket of water or full bath.
- If your shower has not been used for two weeks or more, disinfect the showerhead. You could use any solution designed for cleaning baby feeding bottles to do this (such as Milton). Showerheads should be disinfected about four times a year.
- Raise the temperature of the water in your boiler or cylinder to 60 degrees or higher. This will kill legionella bacteria. Beware of burns and scalding and take care if you have children.
- If you've been away and your home has been empty for a while, flush the whole water system for two minutes or more. First flush your toilet, then let all taps run for two minutes or more to let both hot and cold water pass through. Next, flush the shower through as described above.