Monday, 20 August 2018

Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection

you can catch by inhaling droplets of water from things like air conditioning or hot tubs. It's uncommon but can be very serious.

How you get Legionnaires' disease
You can catch Legionnaires' disease if you breathe in tiny droplets of water containing bacteria that cause the infection.

It's usually caught in places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply. It's very rare to catch it at home.

You can catch it from things like:
air conditioning systems
spa pools and hot tubs
showers, taps and toilets
You can't usually get it from:
drinking water containing the bacteria
other people with the infection
places like ponds, lakes and rivers
Get an urgent GP appointment if you have a bad cough and:
it doesn't go away
you can't breathe properly
you have severe chest pain
you have a high temperature or you feel hot and shivery
you feel like you have severe flu
These could be symptoms of Legionnaires' disease.

Tell your GP where you've been in the past 10 days, such as if you stayed in a hotel, spa or hospital.

Treatment for Legionnaires' disease
You may need to go into hospital if you're diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

Treatment in hospital may include:

antibiotics directly into a vein
oxygen through a face mask or tubes in your nose
a machine to help you breathe
When you start to get better you might be able to take antibiotic tablets at home. Antibiotic treatment usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks.

Most people make a full recovery, but it might take a few weeks to feel back to normal.
Leptospirosis, also called Weil's disease, is an infection you can catch from animals. It's rare in the UK.

How you catch leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is spread in the pee of infected animals – most commonly rats, mice, cows, pigs and dogs.

You can catch it if:

soil or freshwater (such as from a river, canal or lake) containing infected pee gets in your mouth, eyes or a cut – usually during activities like kayaking, outdoor swimming or fishing
you touch an infected animal's blood or flesh – usually from working with animals or animal parts
It's very rare to get leptospirosis from pets, other people or bites.

See a GP if you might have been exposed to infected pee and you have:
a very high temperature, or feel hot and shivery
a headache
feeling and being sick
aching muscles and joints
red eyes
loss of appetite
These are symptoms of leptospirosis.

Ask for an urgent appointment if you have:

yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
swollen ankles, feet or hands
chest pain
shortness of breath
coughing up blood
You might have a serious infection that needs to be treated quickly.

Treatment from a GP
Your GP may prescribe antibiotic tablets to treat the infection. You should make a full recovery in a few days or weeks.

It's important to finish the course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better.

Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve any aches, pains or fever.

If you have a more serious infection, you may need to be treated in hospital.

How to avoid getting leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is rare, especially in the UK. You're more at risk if you do lots of outdoor activities (especially while abroad) or work with animals or animal parts.

To reduce your chances of catching it:

Do
wash your hands with soap and water after handling animals or animal products
clean any wounds as soon as possible
cover any cuts and grazes with waterproof plasters
wear protective clothing if you're at risk through your job
shower as soon as possible if you've been in potentially infected water
check your dog is vaccinated against leptospirosis (there isn't a vaccine for people)
Don't
touch dead animals with your bare hands
drink water from places like rivers, canals or lakes that hasn't been boiled

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