There are several types of ailments and infections that can affect the human respiratory system and some of them can also lead to fatal consequences. One such instance is Legionnaires’ Disease, also known as Legionellosis. It is one type of acute pneumonia caused by respiratory infections. The infection is caused by certain factors and situations. The bacterium responsible for its onset is Legionella penumophila. This disease was discovered for the first time in 1976. It was found at Philadelphia’s Bellevue-Stratford Hotel where an American Legion convention was being held and the disorder was named after the incident.
Main Sources of Legionnaires’ Disease
The bacteria responsible for causing this infection to get passed mostly through air and water droplet. It can survive outdoors and multiply fast. It also survives well in hot water. However, it does not spread from one infected person to another through touch or sharing food. The main sources of this infection are:
- Room-air humidifiers
- Natural water bodies like lakes and streams
- Mist sprayers in commercial setups
- Central air conditioning units
- Cruise ships with swimming pools
While contaminated air droplets containing the bacteria can infect men and women from various age groups, some groups of people are at higher risk. They are:
- Older adults
- People with diabetes
- People afflicted with lung ailments
- People with poor immune system
- People spending much time in centrally air conditioned areas
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease
After spreading into a person’s body through water droplets or mist, the bacteria take up a few days- referred as the incubation period. It takes sometimes more than a week to start working. The symptoms, therefore, take time to manifest in the affected person. The symptoms are common with general respiratory ailment which can make diagnosis delayed as well. The major symptoms of this infection are:
If not treated in time, Legionnaires’ disease can lead to fatal consequences. The outcome could be:
- Septic shock
- Respiratory failure
- Kidney failure
In people with weak immune system, death can also happen.
Treatment Options For Legionnaires’ Disease
In most cases, this infection is treated with antibiotics. People with weak immune system and elderly lot may require hospitalization. They may also need breathing support. Antibiotics like erythromycin, doxycycline and azithromycin are usually recommended by doctors to treat patients suffering from this ailment.
Home Based Remedies For Legionnaires’ Disease
While using oral antibiotics is strongly recommended to treat people afflicted with this disease, using a number of home remedies can also be effective to quicken pace of recovery. These include specific herbs and some preventive measures.
- Olive Leaves– You can try chewing olive leaves, you can thwart this infection to an extent. Olive leaves contain strong antibacterial properties and they are effective in fighting bacteria inducing pneumonia.
- Ginger and Citrus fruits- A lot of people suffering from this ailment lose appetite. This can reduce chances of a fast recovery as your body will not get nutrients if you do not eat suitable foods in a scheduled manner. Using lemon juice and ginger can make foods tastier and patients can feel interested to eat foods.
- Herbal tea- Tea made with herbs like chamomile and catnip can be effective for reducing symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease. While antibiotics can be used to eliminate the bacteria from the body, using herbal tea can help the patients cope better with symptoms and resultant weakness. Herbal tea can also provide a boost to the immune system.
- Hot and Cold Packs– Legionnaires’ Disease can make you feel weak and muscle aches can be felt. To get relief from these symptoms, using cold and hot packs is advisable.
Preventive Measures You Can Adopt
While there is practically no vaccine for this ailment, you can surely adopt a number of preventive measures to keep this ailment at bay. These include:
- Evading damp spaces and places where water is shared for bathing.
- Disinfecting cooling towers periodically.
- Ensuring central air conditioning unit is cleaned and maintained properly.
- Using chlorine and disinfectants in swimming pools and spas.
- Evading smoking