15 July 2019 It'll save your life' - Doctor reveals why he runs shower for 20 minutes after holiday

posted by Ian Clarenbone

Dr Tom Makin runs his shower for 20 minutes when he gets home to protect himself from deadly bacteria

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Could this life hack save your life? 

What is the first thing you do when you get home after being on holiday? Put the kettle on? Put your feet up? Take a shower...

A microbiologist has recently shared his ritual when he returns home from being away and it might change your routine forever. Dr Tom Makin immediately runs his shower for 20 minutes without getting into it and, after it's turned off he doesn't go back in the bathroom for another 20 minutes. The process, he said is a measure to prevent the lethal bacteria causing life-threatening conditions. In the time a person is away on holiday, stagnant water in your shower head can turn toxic, he claims. This means people are at greater risk of inhaling bacteria called legionella.

Explaining in detail what he does when back from a break, he said: "I cover my nose and mouth with one hand and turn on the shower with the other. After 20 minutes or so, I’ll turn the shower off and then I won’t go back into the bathroom for at least another 20 minutes."

Going away in the Summer increases the risk posed by Legionella, as the bacteria thrives when the temperature is between 20C and 45C. Garden hoses and sprinkler systems are also risky.

The World Health Organisation says Legionella is on the rise, possibly because people are taking showers rather than baths. Legionella can cause pneumonia and organ failure, both of which can be fatal. An estimated 500 Brits contract Legionnaires' disease each year.

8 July 2019 Legionella at The Bridge Secondary School London

posted 9 Jul 2019, 05:59 by Ian Clarenbone

The Health and Safety Executive inspected The Bridge Secondary School due to "concerns about the management and treatment of Legionella bacteria risk" - but inspectors are now satisfied its being dealt with.


Last month Legionella bacteria had been found in parts of the water supply at the school in Carleton Road, as well as a sports centre used by Beacon High Secondary School and at The Zone Youth Club. As a precaution, all showers at the venues have since been closed - and there have been no reports of Legionnaires Disease.

A Health and Safety Executive spokesperson said: "Following an inspection by HSE, immediate measures were taken by the school to isolate the potentially at risk parts of its hot and cold water system. Remedial works, a chlorination of the water system and a resampling was undertaken by the schools water treatment company. The school will not reactivate its hot and cold water system until assurance is achieved that Legionella bacteria are at tolerable levels. Water outlets served by mains water are unaffected. No further investigation is planned."

The "hot and cold" facilities serve The Bridge Secondary School - part of a multi-academy trust - and its swimming pool facilities, as well as the sports centre and youth club. But drinking fountains in the schools and the swimming pool itself are served by mains water.

The Bridge London Trust's chief executive Dr Penny Barratt has previously said "there is no need for alarm" and that "expert advice indicates that the buildings are safe to remain open and activities within them can continue as normal."

It is reported that Legionella readings in the water have already been significantly reduced, and that results of a second wave of treatment are due this week.

Beacon High's Executive Head Jo Dibb said: "There is no connection between the water supply in the facilities and the water supply at Beacon High. We will not be using the facilities until the problem has been resolved."

5 July 2019 Health officials declare Legionnaires' outbreak at London's Dolphin Square

posted 8 Jul 2019, 01:03 by Ian Clarenbone

An outbreak of potentially deadly Legionnaires’ disease at Dolphin Square has been declared by health chiefs after a third person fell ill at the famed apartment blocks.

Public Health England confirmed it was investigating a spate of cases of the lung infection at the Pimlico residences linked to bacteria in the water system.

The most recent victim, Nick Russell, had been staying at his mother’s apartment while attending his father’s funeral. He spent several days in intensive care last month after developing pneumonia. He only went to A&E in Exeter after his mother raised concerns that he could have contracted the infection from breathing infected water spores from her shower.

Mr Russell, 57, a theme park ride designer from Somerset, said: “It was the most mind-blowing headache and flu-like symptoms. Very reluctantly I was frogmarched down to A&E - I really didn’t want to go there at all. I just wanted to quietly curl up and die. They were nervous that I might have something contagious, so they all had their masks on. It was a little bit freaky, but I was more disturbed by the side-effects of the antibiotics. I was told about the symptoms including seizures, the electrical pattern in your heart changing and tendon damage in my wrists and ankles that could potentially cripple you for life. But the NHS were fantastic and were by all account’s lifesaving. I was as weak as a kitten struggling to move and just lying in a crumpled heap in bed. If I hadn’t had gone down when I had there was every chance, I would have had pneumonia in both lungs rather than one.” He added: “I was only in London to say goodbye to my father, but it was touch-and-go that my family would be saying goodbye to me as well.”


Mr Russell had been staying in Hawkins House. It shares a roof-top water tank with Nelson House, where the second victim, also a visitor to Dolphin Square, was found. The first case is thought to have been in Beatty House or Duncan House. The second victim collapsed in the apartment in June and was only discovered by chance. He is understood to have spent weeks in hospital receiving treatment.

The Health and Safety Executive said it was deciding whether to launch an investigation. 

There are about 1,200 flats in Dolphin Square’s 12 blocks. Taps and radiators are being replaced. Residents are being asked to run their taps and showers but “leave the room” while this is being done. One resident said: “Stable doors and horses come to mind. There should not have been a second case and there definitely should not have been a third.”

Dr Yimmy Chow, from Public Health England, said: ““Residents are advised to look out for signs and symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease, including a flu-like illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever, and call NHS 111 or their GP for medical advice.”

Dolphin Square said in a statement: “Water at the estate is monitored, tested and treated in accordance with all applicable national regulations and guidelines. We are also undertaking an estate-wide review of water installations in tenants’ flats, and reminding our tenants of the need to regularly descale their taps and showers. The health and welfare of everyone who lives and visits Dolphin Square is central to all that we do.”


6 July 2019 Bournemouth health spa probed after Legionella outbreak

posted 8 Jul 2019, 00:36 by Ian Clarenbone

A health spa is the "likely source" of an outbreak of Legionella infection which has left nine people in hospital, Public Health England (PHE) has said.

Fourteen people who attended Healax Salt Caves in Bournemouth in June have contracted either Legionnaire's Disease or the less serious Pontiac fever. A further 39 people who reported symptoms have not had infections confirmed by laboratory tests. The nine worst-affected patients are now recovering at home.

Wendy Brimicombe, 63, said she and a friend both contracted Pontiac fever after visiting the spa on 10 June. "When I got home, I had a headache, was sick and felt like my chest was being crushed," she said. Ms Brimicombe said she slept for more than 24 hours, not realising that she had missed work. "I live alone. It's really frightened me," she said.

PHE England said it had given health advice to other customers and to local residents. Dr Fiona Neeley from PHE said: "We understand that there will be concern among people who visited Healax Salt Caves and spa. "Thankfully, in all cases of illness that have been reported to Public Health England to date, those affected are now recovering from their illness. "There are no ongoing risks to health for the wider population in relation to this incident." She said the business owner and health officials had "acted quickly" to ensure that any further risk was controlled. The affected customers visited the spa between 1 June and 18 June, PHE said.

The business in Kinson Road has been closed until further notice, its Facebook site said. A repossession notice has been posted on the door.

Therapies offered at the centre include a salt water hot tub and a "salt cave" with a salt-covered floor and walls made from salt blocks.

23 June 2019 Increase in Number of Cases of Legionnaires' Disease in Vale of Glamorgan

posted 24 Jun 2019, 05:38 by Ian Clarenbone

Public Health Wales said it has been investigating a 'higher than usual' number of cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Vale of Glamorgan over the past 10 months.

Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection that can be life-threatening. It cannot be passed from person to person but can be caught from inhaling water droplets containing bacteria. It often begins with flu-like symptoms and can lead to pneumonia.

 Dr Gwen Lowe, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales said: “Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease notified to us are sporadic cases, but unexplained clustering does occur from time to time... The results of samples we have received so far are different, suggesting the typed cases are not linked.

On average, there are around 30 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Wales each year. These are usually spread throughout Wales. This year there have been 10 cases of Legionella across Wales to date, two of which have been in the Vale of Glamorgan. In 2018, there were seven cases in this area.

We are closely monitoring this situation, continue to investigate cases, and will keep the status of this incident under review”.

25 February 2019 Hotels in Asia ignore basic health and safety checks

posted 26 Feb 2019, 04:22 by Ian Clarenbone

Legionnaires’ disease is a powerful pathogen that can easily spread through the air conditioning system.

Citing insufficient manpower and low budgets, hotel operators are guilty of negligence of the most basic health and safety checks in their hotel air conditioning units. From hotel owners to senior engineers there is little enthusiasm or willpower to act responsibly. 

Not enough is being done to clean and sanitize air conditioning equipment. Annual cleaning is a minimum. Inspections by outside engineers have found black mould and dangerous bacteria in Asia’s hotels some showing signs of not being cleaned in decades. Air quality is compromised. Spores and microscopic pathogens like Legionnaires’ disease –known killers – go unchecked.

Hotel operators have failed to act and there is evidence that some local operators ignore public safety. Even top-level management at head offices fail to act to deal with air quality issues that are known to cause illness, preferring to ignore the problem rather than tackle it head-on.

The problems have been well documented by shocked engineers specializing in air handling equipment. Hotel operators in Asia continue to ignore the warning signs. Guests health and safety is often compromised.

Experts described this inactivity by hotel operators as a scandal, hotel operators are unwilling to admit that a problem exists. It’s considered nonessential work and is only paid lip-service.

The air we breathe contains millions of microscopic organisms. The vast majority are harmless, however, given the right conditions of moisture and heat they can turn nasty. Black mould can develop and responsible engineers have ways to tackle the problem. Today this can be done without the use of hazardous chemicals like acids that produce dangerous fumes and damage equipment.

Turning a blind eye to public safety is not new in Asia. There is little enforcement. Too few resources and its low priority status means that inspections are few and far between.

And it’s not just Asia. As recently as 2015 a spectacular failure in a New York hotel led to 10 people’s death in an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. More than 100 people were hospitalized. A stark warning to hotels in Asia where the dangers are so often ignored and there are fewer inspections.

16 October 2018 British tourists have been evacuated from the Suncity Hotel in Oludeniz Turkey

posted 17 Oct 2018, 07:42 by Ian Clarenbone

HUNDREDS of British holidaymakers had to change hotels after an outbreak of the deadly Legionnaires’ disease.

Travel firm Tui acted after the scare last week at the four-star Suncity hotel in Oludeniz, Turkey. Some guests had been diagnosed with the waterborne illness when they returned to the UK, the company confirmed. Tui said the move was “precautionary”, adding: “We audit all of the hotels to ensure they meet our high standards.”

A TUI spokeswoman said: “We were made aware a small number of holidaymakers who returned to the UK have been diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease, following a stay at the Suncity Hotel in Oludeniz. As per our standard procedures, we are working with the hotel management to conduct the relevant risk assessment. As a precautionary measure, all customers have been relocated to alternative accommodation. We closely audit all of the hotels to which we operate to ensure they meet our high health and safety standards, and we would like to reassure customers that situations such as this are extremely rare.”

24 September 2018 Tamworth Legionnaires' disease cases 'may be linked

posted 25 Sep 2018, 07:08 by Ian Clarenbone

Health experts are examining six cases of Legionnaires' diseases in Tamworth which could be linked to a "common source".

Two patients are "recovering" from the illness, caused by bacteria commonly associated with water systems, Public Health England (PHE) said. It is also examining four other cases in the town over the past six months, where the patients have recovered. Experts are taking detailed histories of where the people visited.

Dr David Kirrage, lead consultant with PHE West Midlands Health Protection Team, said: "While we do not currently have a direct link between these cases, the evidence we have points to the possibility that there is a common source."

Dr Kirrage said they were looking to see whether a common local source of infection would be found. He said Legionnaires' disease was a rare but "potentially life-threatening illness", which cannot be passed from person to person.

"As a precaution we are working with the Health and Safety Executive and Tamworth Borough Council to identify and control any possible sources of the disease," he said.

Early symptoms include a flu-like illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches and fever which can lead to pneumonia.

31 August 2018 Devon health care centre closed after deadly bacteria discovered in taps

posted 3 Sep 2018, 00:14 by Ian Clarenbone

A Devon health care centre has been closed after Legionella bacteria was discovered in taps. Further tests are being carried out at Paignton Health and Wellbeing Centre in the old Paignton hospital building in Church Street.

The local NHS advised anyone in a high-risk group who develops a cough or fever above 38C after visiting the centre to contract their GP.

A statement from the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said it was carrying out more testing and remedial work. It said in a statement: “Although it is normal for Legionella bacteria to be present in older buildings and any risk to people in outpatient settings is minimal, we have decided as a precaution to cancel clinics at Paignton Health and Wellbeing Centre while we carry out further testing and remedial works. Our swift actions will prevent the possibility of infection; however, anyone who has a compromised immune system or is pregnant and develops a cough/fever above 38 degrees after a recent clinic attendance at Paignton Health and Wellbeing Centre should seek advice from their GP, as there is a urine test for Legionella, performed at Torbay hospital and Legionella can be treated with antibiotics.”

Dr Selina Hoque, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the trust, said: “We carry out regular testing of all our estate buildings, and are closing Paignton Health and Wellbeing Centre as a precautionary measure to minimise the risk to our staff and patients. We hope to re-open Paignton Health and Wellbeing Centre on Wednesday 5 September once we have checked that decontamination of the building has been completed. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the short notice cancellations, but protecting people’s health and safety is our first consideration. We will reschedule cancelled clinics as soon as possible, and in the meantime, anyone who has any queries about their appointment should contact the number given on their clinic letter.”

NHS England has been informed of the incident.

20 August 2018 Residents moved out as Legionnaires' disease bacteria found at sheltered housing in Birkenhead

posted 21 Aug 2018, 06:15 by Ian Clarenbone

All 62 residents of Vincent Naughton Court, which houses people aged 55 and over, are in the process of being moved to temporary accommodation after regular tests revealed a "high reading" of Legionella. No cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported at the site - but the bacteria can cause serious illness, particularly in older people.

Sanctuary Housing, which manages the building on Rodney Street, Birkenhead, said the problem was discovered on Friday morning. A spokesman said: "Through our regular water testing at Vincent Naughton Court we identified a high reading of Legionella bacteria in the water supply.

We immediately alerted United Utilities, Wirral Council, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive and have been supporting the 62 residents to temporarily move out of the building to allow remedial work and subsequent re-testing to take place. While no cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported, as the Legionella bacteria can cause serious illness, particularly in older people, we are taking the precautionary step of moving everyone into temporary accommodation while we eradicate the risk. We anticipate that residents will remain in their temporary accommodation while the issue is resolved and we are providing them with support and advice, including covering their day to day living costs."

United Utilities moved to reassure the public that the contaminated water was confined to internal systems in the Vincent Naughton Court building. A spokesman said: "This appears to be an entirely private matter involving internal pipework and not a problem with the mains water supplied to the site.

A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: "Upon being informed of the discovery of legionella at Vincent Naughton Court in Birkenhead, the council has assisted Sanctuary Housing through its environmental health services and its adult social care service, which is provided by Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust."

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