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Legionnaires Disease is a type of severe pneumonia caused by a bacteria found in tap water. The infection is usually acquired after it’s inhaled (as during a shower).

This summer, a few Chicago hotel guests acquired Legionnaires Disease, and it’s now shown up again—this time with a small outbreak of pneumonia symptoms in a public school that was traced back to school facilities.

Not everyone who catches the bacteria—which thrives in 77-113°F tap water, gets full-blown Legionnaires Disease (full pneumonia symptoms: fever, coughing, aches, chills…). Many people get the milder form, known as Pontiac Fever. Pontiac Fever has a quicker onset and symptoms go away sooner.

How bad Legionnaires Disease affects you is dependant on your immune system (as with most diseases!). For those with weaker immune systems, like the elderly, the pneumonia symptoms Legionnaires brings can be deadly.

If your water heater is set at the recommended “safe” temperature of 125°F, the bacteria that cause Legionnaires can mostly survive (but won’t breed). If it’s set at 131°F or higher, you should be safe from having Legionnaires Disease get into your water that way.

And of course, make sure to strengthen and support your immune system!

What do you think of diseases/parasites that come from tap water? Does it change your cooking/drinking habits?

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