Imagine that you are on vacation, and you decide to grab a drink at the hotel pool and settle in the hot tub. You do this several times throughout your stay and begin to start feeling weak. It gets worse and worse and it begins to feel like the flu. Finally you see yourself in a hospital fighting for your life with pneumonia. What happened?
You contracted Legionnaire’s Disease, which is common, but very preventable. It is contracted through improper maintenance and sanitation of spas or hot tubs. It happens all over the world, and many thousands of people learn this lesson. It has even resulted in death.
Legionnare’s Disease is caused by the bacterium Legionella. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8,000 to 18,000 people a year are hospitalized with Legionnaire’s Disease. Symptoms include muscle aches and headaches, along with fever, cough and chills. These symptoms usually occur within 10 days of first contact with the Legionella bacteria.
The problem with Legionnaire’s Disease is that it cannot be detected in pools or hot tubs, as it is present in clear water. The hot tub can appear to be safe when, in fact, it can be filled with bacteria living in the sludge of hot tub’s filters. Furthermore, even if you are not in the hot tub, the Legionella bacteria can spread in the air, even in long distances!
Chemical test kits can be purchased at retail stores and local food stores in order to check the water before going in. You can also check pool and spa maintenance logs at public pools in order to see proof of maintenance. Even better, you can ask the hotel to run a test of the pool and spa water to make sure it is clean with the appropriate disinfectants. Most hotels will gladly comply, and you can finally relax in the summer sun!