Legionnaires Disease | FAQ


How can I reduce my risk of getting Legionnaires’ disease?

You can reduce your risk of Legionnaires’ disease by (a) lowering your susceptibility to infection and (b) avoiding exposure to Legionella bacteria.

The most important factor in lowering your susceptibility to infection is to stop smoking. Among persons who are not immunocompromised, smoking is the number one factor in acquiring Legionnaires disease. A study of 146 adults with Legionnaires’ disease indicated that smoking sharply increased the risk of contracting the disease.

You can reduce your risk of exposure by avoiding public places and water systems that may be prone to Legionella contamination and by minimizing conditions that promote Legionella growth in your home. Plumbing systems (via showers and faucets), whirlpool spas and bathtubs, and humidifiers present a potential risk of Legionella exposure in homes.

Some measures cost nothing and should be implemented out of good sense. Expensive measures could be a waste of money for healthy nonsmoking adults who are at low risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease. High-risk individuals, however, should consider taking every reasonable precaution.

For information on avoiding exposure in public places and at home, see the book Protect Yourself from Legionnaires’ Disease: The waterborne illness that continues to kill and harm.

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