We all travel a lot in our lives and stay in different types of accommodation such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, caravans and even tents. My accommodation doesn’t have to be posh but it does have to be clean. Since I have been involved in legionella control for several years one of the things that I will look at is the state of the shower. At a hotel I recently stayed in it left a lot to be desired. The spray plate was blocked with scale so there was poor flow and it looked like it had never been cleaned. It didn’t leave me with a good impression of the hotel.
Bacteria in Shower Systems
For people to contract Legionnaires’ Disease there are a number of things that have to occur at the same time.
- There has to be Legionella present in the incoming water
- Legionella has to have the correct conditions to grow and multiply. Like people legionella bacteria like to be warm and sheltered.
- The water containing the legionella needs to be in the form of an aerosol.
- There has to be a susceptible host/person for the bacteria to infect. Generally Legionnaires’ Disease effects people over 50, who smoke, drink and are immuno suppressed.
Based on this a scaled up shower is the perfect place for legionella bacteria to grow
- There is a flexi hose supplying the shower where biofilm can breed. (Biofilm is a matrix of bacteria that is attached to a pipe wall by a sticky matrix- It is much harder to kill than bacteria in the body of the water). The biofilm will give the bacteria shelter.
- The scale on the shower will also give shelter to the legionella bacteria.
- The shower’s operational temperature is 37C- the perfect temperature to allow legionella to multiply.
- The shower will, of course, create an aerosol.
In a hotel, bed and breakfast or caravan site anyone could be using your shower. It could be a young child or an elderly person so it is likely that a susceptible person will use your shower at some point.
Safesol’s Shower Solution
The HSE, in HSG 274 Part 2, recommends the following for showers “dismantle, clean and descale removable parts, heads, inserts and hoses where fitted”. This should be done “quartely or as indicated by the rate of fouling or risk factors, eg areas with high risk patients”. This information is from Table 2.1 Checklist for hot and cold water systems.
The technical team at Safesol have created a brilliant Disinfectant and Descale product DD1 . This is great for keeping your showers both biofilm and scale free.
Simply soak your showerhead and hose in a bucket of the DD1 solution for an hour to remove biofilm and scale. DD1 will remove biofilm and scale from your shower head and hose. Based on HuwaSan and a week acid it is gentle on shower materials but tough on bacteria.
If you need more information on dose rates for our DD1 product you can refer to our handy downloadable help sheet