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30 June 2021 Hot tubs linked to Legionnaires' disease

posted 5 Jul 2021, 03:51 by Ian Clarenbone
Hot tubs can be relaxing but, if not cleaned and maintained properly, pose a number of health risks 
When it comes to summer garden accessories, recently not much else has been able to top the demand for a hot tub. Year after year, people are flocking to buy their own garden spa, jacuzzi or hot pool, where they can sit back and relax with a glass of something, while they watch the sun set.

However, when taking on a hot tub for your garden, many people are still underestimating just how much work goes into maintaining it - with some likely spending less time cleaning their hot tub as they should be. Alongside the fact that it's a bit disgusting to be sitting in that same dirty water everyday, it can also be deadly - leading to water bacteria that can make yourself and your jacuzzi-guests extremely ill.

So what do you need to know - not only as a hot tub owner, but as someone heading off on a hot tub holiday, spa trip or somewhere that boasts their own jacuzzi?

According to an article by "Infectious water-borne agents can be easily introduced into a spa pool from a variety of sources, including bathers, dirt entering the hot tub and from the water itself. Bathers using spa pools can be at risk of infections such as E.Coli and folliculitis, and skin and other infections caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium. But it is Legionella that poses the most serious risk, as this is the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, a severe pneumonia like illness which can in some cases prove fatal. Once Legionella bacteria enter artificial water systems such as domestic plumbing systems (taps, showers etc.), ornamental fountains, hot tubs and spa pools, there can be the potential for the bacteria to multiply rapidly and contaminate the supply to dangerous concentrations.”

"Legionella contamination of water can be a serious problem in spa baths for a number of reasons:
The water in spa baths is typically heated to a temperature that is perfect for the bacteria to grow and multiply. The ideal temperature range for such growth is between 20°C and 45°C.
Contaminants including dead skin cells and dirt from the people using spa pools provide an excellent food for the bacteria, aiding their growth.
The spa’s pipework for the water and air circulation ensures there is a large surface area for the bacteria to grow on.
The fact that the water in a spa pool is often vigorously agitated (or aerated) results in aerosols and sprays containing water droplets being formed, from which the Legionella bacteria can be inhaled."

How long does it take for Legionella to grow in a hot tub?

Harmful Legionella bacteria can incubate in as little as two to 10 days, so anyone who isn't on top of maintaining, disinfecting, cleaning and chlorinating these certain appliances, could soon be at risk.

How to prevent Legionnaires' Disease and how to keep your hot tub clean

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) state that there is now a seasonal rise in cases of Legionnaires' Disease between the months of June and October, in people's own back gardens in some cases.

If you are considering installing a hot tub or spa bath, the CIPHE advises using a professional plumbing engineer for installation. Hot tub suppliers and fitters will often have plenty of information on how to keep your hot tub well-maintained and clean. Not only will it ensure your pricey investment lasts longer, but it will also keep you and whoever else may be using it, safe and sound.