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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Legionnaires Disease?

Posted in Legionella,Legionnaire's disease on August 31, 2020

Legionnaires disease is a form of severe pneumonia caused by a bacterium known as, ‘Legionella,’ which naturally exists in freshwater but can grow and become dangerous in man-made settings if the water isn’t properly maintained. Thousands of people in the U.S. suffer from this lung infection and are hospitalized each year. If you experience any signs or symptoms of Legionnaires disease, it is extremely important to see a doctor immediately. 

Signs & Symptoms to Watch Out For

Legionnaires disease commonly develops 2-10 days after being exposed to legionella bacteria. The disease frequently starts with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • A fever that might be 107 F or higher

By the second or third day, the infected person will develop additional signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion or other mental changes
  • A cough, potentially with blood and mucus
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting

While this disease mainly affects a person’s lungs, it can occasionally cause infections in wounds or other parts of a person’s body, including the heart. A mild form of Legionnaires disease known as Pontiac Fever, does not infect a person’s lungs, but causes symptoms such as chills, fever, and muscle aches that oftentimes clear up within 2-5 days.

Potential Complications

There are a number of life-threatening complications that Legionnaires disease can lead to, including:

Respiratory Failure 

When the lungs cannot provide enough oxygen to the body, or can’t remove enough carbon dioxide from the blood.

Septic Shock 

A severe, sudden drop in blood pressure reduces blood flow to vital organs, especially to the kidneys and brain. The heart attempts to compensate by increasing the volume of blood pumped, but in turn becomes weakened and blood flow reduces even further.

Acute Kidney Failure

The kidneys abruptly stop working and are unable to filter waste from your blood, causing dangerous levels of fluid and waste to accumulate in the body.

Not everyone exposed to legionella bacteria becomes sick, but those who smoke, are older than 50, have a weakened immune system, or a chronic lung disease, are more likely to develop an infection. 

Legionnaires Disease Tests & Diagnosis

A chest x-ray can be used to confirm a lung infection when Legionnaires’ disease is suspected. To see if a person’s pneumonia is caused by Legionella, there are two types of tests that are preferred by healthcare providers: 

  • Urine test
  • Laboratory test that involves taking a sample of sputum (phlegm) or washing from the lung

Antibiotics are typically administered for those who test positive. Most people can be successfully treated, but may require hospitalization. 

Speak to an Experienced Lawyer

The Legionnaires disease attorneys at The Lange Law Firm are committed to protecting clients who have suffered from Legionnaires disease. We will utilize over 15 years of experience and look at all aspects of your case to see who is responsible for causing your illness, in order to pursue your case to the fullest extent possible. Call (833) 330-3663 today or contact us online for a free initial consultation.