People everywhere rely on HVAC systems to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
But what many people fail to realize is that the heating and cooling system can have an effect on health as well as comfort. Proper design, installation, operation and most of all, maintenance, play a critical role in ensuring good indoor air quality and preventing the spread of illness, including Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella pneumophila is the bacterium that causes a specific type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease as well as a milder form of the illness called Pontiac Fever, which also resembles the flu. Records trace the disease back to the 1960s but it was not until 1976 when 221 people attending an American Legion convention in 1976 in Philadelphia contracted the disease that it came to the attention of the public. Researchers identified the bacterium in January 1977 and named it after the outbreak.
People contract the disease via water and/or soil when they inhale vapor or mist contaminated with the bacterium. Experts identified the hotel’s HVAC system as the source of the disease that killed 34 people during the 1976 outbreak in Philadelphia.
How HVAC Systems And Legionnaires’ Disease Are Connected
The bacterium can thrive in cooling towers and central air conditioners, especially larger unites like those in highly populated buildings, such as schools, hospitals and hotels. The sources for subsequent outbreaks have been traced to hot tubs, indoor fountains, shower heads and other places but the most common sources are central air conditioning systems and their components.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include, aches, chills, high fever, then chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, nausea and diarrhea and confusion. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 18,000 people in the United States end up in the hospital with Legionnaires’ disease every year.
If you believe you or a loved one has Legionnaires’ disease, make sure you seek a doctor’s care immediately.
Vigilantly Taking Care Of All Of Your Heating And Cooling Needs
As leading professionals in the heating and air conditioning industry, we at Simply the Best Heating & Cooling have the ability to serve as a first line of defense against this potentially deadly disease. Our HVAC techs remain vigilant during installation, repair and regular maintenance, which plays an important role in both extending the life of your unit, as well as preventing the spread of Legionnaire’s disease as well as asthma and allergies that can occur with poorly maintained HVAC units.