Dirty Gutters: A Breeding Ground for Legionnaires’ Disease?

Most gutters are exposed to the elements, so they will usually be full of organic detritus. Some of these include rotting branches and leaves from nearby trees due to being soaked in moisture, droppings from animals like birds, stray cats and squirrels, and even insect eggs and larvae (such as mosquitoes). Others may simply just be asphalt shingle runoffs or other inorganic, toxic materials.

Dirty Gutters

This primordial ooze-like mixture of the gutter matter is what makes it so dangerous in the first place if you don’t clear it. Organisms like mold and mildew are the least of your worries—some even more vile, like legionella, may be present in your gutters, at this very moment. Winfield Builders explains just what makes legionella a serious health risk in your home.

Legionnaires’ Disease: An Overview

Legionella is a species of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Normally, this bacteria is present in contaminated water or soil, but if that water comes into contact with those in your gutters and you inhale it, the bacteria will find its way into your lungs and multiply, causing a severe form of pneumonia. The trouble is, legionella grows especially well in dark, humid conditions—in temperatures 68F to 122F—which is exactly the condition inside most gutters.

Doctors believe that many people with weakened immune systems are highly susceptible to Legionnaires’ disease (so-called because it was first identified at an American Legion convention in 1976). Therefore, roofers and gutter specialists are tasked to make sure water that contains the legionella bacteria doesn’t come into contact with human habitation.

Preventing Legionella Growth

The best way to minimize your exposure to legionella is to make sure your gutters are clean and clear. You don’t need to wait for your roofing contractor to do it; you can simply check your gutters occasionally and remove whatever solid material may have taken refuge in there. In general, gutters should be clear of any obstruction, and only water should be moving through it, not anything else.

Winfield Builders is your ally when it comes to preventing waterborne diseases. We not only dabble with roofing and siding but windows as well. For more information about our products, call us today at (301) 329-8295 or fill out our form. We serve residents of Silver Spring, Rockville, and Annapolis, MD.

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