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IS IT AIR CONDITIONING DISEASE OR COVID-19?
Turkey iHealth member and hospital in Istanbul Pulmonologist Associate Doctor, “The air conditioning disease (legionnaires’ disease), which is a kind of lung infection and is common in these months, shows similar symptoms to Covid-19, such as fever, dry cough, chest pain,” was said.
Air conditioning disease, also known as legionnaires’ disease, is more common in summer. The main reason for this is the increased use of air conditioning systems. ”About 20 percent of patients have a history of travel and, in particular, a history of staying at a hotel in Turkey,” said Associate Professor of Pulmonology. Doctor explained.
What needs to be known about this issue as follows:
Legionnaires disease is a disease caused by a bacterium called Legionella pneumophila that causes an infection in the lungs (pneumonia). Bacteria are naturally found in environments such as lakes and streams. Although names such as air conditioning disease or summer pneumonia are used, bacteria; it causes diseases by settling in central air cooling systems containing water and fans used in buildings and restaurants such as hotels, business centers, showers, jacuzzis, grocery stores and restaurants, water humidifier used in refreshing machines, hot and cold water sources, plumbing and breathing devices.
How is it transmitted?
After legionella grows and multiplies in the water, legionnaires’ disease develops when people inhale small droplets of water in the air containing bacteria. It is also transmitted by the fact that bacteria that have settled in the body reach the respiratory tract. This condition is more common in patients treated in the hospital and especially in intensive care. It is not transmitted from person to person. The disease can make a large number of people sick at the same time.
Because who’s most at risk?
Legionnaire’s disease of people over age 50, current or former smokers, people with a weakened immune system or chronic lung disease such as emphysema or persons who receive drugs that weaken the immune system (e.g., after chemotherapy or transplantation), people with cancer, diabetes, kidney failure or liver failure creates a risk for people with underlying diseases such as.
Is it dangerous?
About 15% of hospitalized patients are treated in intensive care, and 6% lose their lives. The disease is more deadly, especially in people who have previously smoked or are active smokers. The disease can have long-term negative health effects on patients.
Is it easy to diagnose?
The diagnosis of the disease is difficult. In the diagnosis of the disease, sputum, lung flushing fluid or blood culture, serological tests, and often antigen detection in the urine are used. However, most of the patients are started antibiotic therapy in accordance with clinical and radiological findings.
What are the ways of protection?
There is no vaccine that can prevent legionnaires’ disease. Most healthy people who are exposed to legionella do not get sick. The key to preventing legionnaires’ disease is to reduce the risk of legionella growth and spread. The water systems of buildings such as hotels and restaurants should be maintained and samples should be taken by applying controls for legionella. Showers and faucets should be washed regularly, and shower heads should be cleaned regularly. Household air conditioners should also be regularly maintained and cleaned.
How are the lungs affected?
The disease occurs 2-10 days after the bacterium enters the body, and patients often complain of a dry (sputum-free) cough, fever, headache and muscle pain. In addition, complaints such as diarrhea, impaired consciousness, nausea and vomiting may also occur. Sometimes there may be a large number of organ influences with liver disorders, kidney disorders and central nervous system involvement. A lung X-ray is usually the most common finding of a one-sided pneumonia-related effect on the lower part of the lung. Moreover, its symptoms can be confused with Covid-19 these days, when the pandemic is ongoing.
Do air conditioners in cars also increase the risk of diseases?
Home air conditioning units do not use water to cool the air, so they do not pose a significant risk of developing diseases. But air conditioners do not have regular maintenance, and therefore can also be a source of disease in cases of accumulation of water or moisture. Car air conditioning units also do not use water to cool the air, so they do not pose a risk to the development of legionella, as long as there is no accumulation of moisture or water.
However, legionella can develop if a vehicle’s windshield wiper tank is filled with water, not windshield cleaning fluid.