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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Legionnaires disease (LD) is a lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionella bacteria can be found in many water sources. You can get LD by breathing in steam or water droplets that contain Legionella bacteria. LD cannot be passed from one person to another.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- You cough up blood.
- You have shortness of breath.
- You have sudden chest pain.
Call your doctor if:
- You feel dizzy, or have problems thinking clearly and remembering things.
- You cannot stop vomiting.
- Your symptoms become worse, even after you take your medicine.
- You have chills, shaking, or fever.
- You have very dry skin, dry mouth and tongue, or feel very thirsty.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Do not smoke:
If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk for lung infections. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.
You may be able to kill the bacteria that cause LD by regularly cleaning the places they grow. You may need to use a special cleaning fluid to kill the bacteria. Ask which cleaning fluids you should use.
- Have your air-conditioning system, hot tubs, or water tanks cleaned regularly.
- If you have a humidifier, follow the instructions on how to keep it clean.
- If you use a nebulizer, follow the instructions on how to use and keep your nebulizer clean.
Prevent the spread of germs:
- Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a child's diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
- Cover a sneeze or cough. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
- Stay away from others while you are sick. Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Ask about vaccines you may need. Talk to your healthcare provider about your vaccine history. He or she will tell you which vaccines you need, and when to get them.
- Get the influenza (flu) vaccine as soon as recommended each year. The flu vaccine is available starting in September or October. Flu viruses change, so it is important to get a flu vaccine every year.
- Get the pneumonia vaccine if recommended. This vaccine is usually recommended every 5 years. Your provider will tell you when to get this vaccine, if needed.
Follow up with your doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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