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Legionnaires' Disease

This is a serious lung and bronchial tube infection caused by bacteria of the genus Legionella, especially Legionella pneumophila. It was first identified following an outbreak that affected 182 people attending an American Legion convention in 1976-hence the name. The bacteria live primarily in water and are transmitted through airborne vapor droplets, although they are sometimes found in excavation sites and newly plowed soil. The incubation period is from two to ten days after exposure to the bacteria. The disease does not spread from one person to another.

Symptoms of legionnaires' disease

The first signs of illness may resemble those of the flu­achiness, fatigue, headache, and moderate fever. The disease then progresses to include high fever (up to 105°F), chills, coughing, diarrhea, disorientation, nausea and vomiting, severe chest pain, shortness of breath, and, as a result of inadequate oxygen, a bluish tinge to the lips, nails, or skin. The coughing begins without sputum but eventually produces sputum that is gray or blood-streaked. Laboratory blood studies and cultures of sputum aid in diagnosis.

The risk of contracting Legionnaire's disease increases with chronic illness such as diabetes, emphysema, or kidney failure, and with immune-suppressing lifestyle habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Young adults usually recover fully from the disease, whereas elderly people, especially those in poor health, are at greater risk of developing respiratory failure.

Causes of legionnaires' disease

Legionnaires' disease is most often contracted by inhaling mist from water sources such as whirlpool baths, showers, and cooling towers that are contaminated with Legionella bacteria.

Natural home remedies for the treatment of legionnaires' disease

  • Goldenseal is a natural antibiotic.
  • Catnip tea is good for reducing fever.
  • Echinacea is a powerful immune stimulant.
  • Olive leaf extract helps protect against bacterial and viral infections. It has proven effective against pneumonia and sore throat.
  • Use a heating pad or a hot water bottle on the chest to relieve pain.

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