Hotels and Water Health Risks
Vacationers and business travelers alike tend to take clean water for granted. But even a hotel in an idyllic setting can expose guests to illness from something as seemingly innocuous as taking a dip in the pool … or simply breathing the air.
The infographic below, Hotel Hygiene: Watch Out for the Water, contains vital information for every hotel guest, and is of special importance for anyone traveling with children or who has underlying health issues. The infographic describes the two major health risks to watch out for in hospitality settings, as well as tips for avoiding waterborne illnesses.
As you’ll see, Legionnaires’ Disease and Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto) are the two illnesses to be especially wary of in and around your hotel or resort.
Legionnaires’ is the common name for the disease caused by the Legionella bacteria, a potentially serious condition that people are generally aware of thanks to its first, widely publicized breakout in 1976 at an American Legion convention in a Philadelphia hotel. Twenty-nine of the 182 infected guests died. Legionnaires’ bacteria can thrive in improperly treated water, and is transmitted through the air. Hotels must carefully monitor their water and HVAC systems to mitigate the risk of this illness. As a hotel guest, you are depending on the property management staff to keep these systems running properly. Beyond that, short of not breathing, the best defenses you have against Legionella is to avoid hot showers, hot tubs and other situations where you are inhaling extremely damp air or water droplets.
Crypto, in contrast to Legionnaires’ Disease, is not as well known. Crypto is caused by a very common parasite, Cryptosporidium, and can make a person suffer severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Cryptosporidium is frequently found in recreational water, including pools and hot tubs commonly used on hotel properties. Conscientious travelers should not only know how to avoid exposing themselves and their families to Crypto, but they should also know how to avoid spreading it. The infographic provides helpful tips on both scores.
Other types of potentially dangerous and microscopic contaminants can be present in hotel water sources. Experienced travelers may know that drinking the water in certain regions of the world is more dangerous than in others. It’s always a good idea to understand the local water health situation before checking in. If you are concerned about drinking water (or even if you just want to be as safe as possible), use tap water sparingly and choose bottled water at every opportunity.
To learn more, please continue reading below.