Getting into a hot tub is one of the best things you can do to relax after a long day in the office. The bubbly, warm water will help you ease some pain from fibromyalgia, low back pain, and arthritis. Still, there are several hot tub dangers you have to know about before you decide to jump into one. People with heart diseases and pregnant women are more likely to experience hot tub sickness. But, if a hot tub is not maintained properly, even healthy people are at risk.
1. Hot Tub Lung
A bacteria that lives in warm water is known to cause this lung disease, also known as the “hot tub lung”. It is called Mycobacterium avium complex, and it has a unique out layer that allows it to stick to surfaces instead of being washed away (which is a usual way to get rid of bacteria). According to the medical journals, if MAC contaminates a hot tub it can become aerosolized since it can latch onto air bubbles.
You may develop granulomas if you breathe in this bacteria (granulomas are inflammation areas in the lungs). Fatigue, fever, trouble breathing, and coughing are among the most common symptoms of the hot tub lung, which is why it is usually mistaken for flu.
Still, there are only about 70 reported cases of hot tub lung in the medical literature. This hot tub sickness usually requires no medical treatment, but antibiotics or corticosteroids may be recommended in some rare cases. There are a couple of things you can do to prevent hot tub lungs.
2. Hot Tub Rash
A hot tub rash is one of the most common hot tub dangers. You may notice some itchy spots after using a Jacuzzi which is caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium. Symptoms usually include pus-filled blisters and itchy skin that might evolve into a bumpy red rash. Don’t forget to clean your swimsuit and shower with soap after you’re done using the hot tub. Also, ask the hot tub operator whether the pH levels are balanced and what disinfectants are used.
Also known as Legionnaires’ disease, hot tubs may pose a risk of this pneumonia that’s caused by the bacteria. The bacteria itself is usually found in water and it can contaminate a hot tub that hasn’t been disinfected properly. You may get infected by only breathing in the mist or steam from the tub that is contaminated. This is why hot tubs need to be disinfected properly before usage, no matter whether they are inside or outside.
4. Urinary Tract Infections
Hot tubs may increase the risk of UTIs, but only in rare cases. The same bacteria that cause the hot tub rash may also impact your urinary tract. There are only a few reported cases, but the evidence is present. Doctors suggest that the water jets in the hot tub may propel the bacteria into the urethra, which then causes an infection. This can be dangerous since the bacteria may find their way to enter the bloodstream causing the more serious condition. Having intercourse in the hot tub increases the chances of contracting this bacteria.
5. Allergic Reactions
Some people may be allergic to a certain chemical used to disinfect and clean hot tubs. To be more specific, potassium peroxymonosulfate is a chemical used during the oxidation process of the water. It eliminates organic contaminants, but it has been linked to some allergic reactions. While this is not naturally a tub sickness, you still need to be aware of allergies since they can be threatening.
A group of dermatologists from Ohio did a test in 2010. They asked their patients with rashes whether they used hot tubs before developing the rash. Six of the patients were found to be allergic to the above-mentioned hot tub chemicals and their symptoms improved once they started avoiding hot tubs.
6. Bodily Fluids Irritations
This paragraph might gross you out, but we will speak about some of the most underrated hot tubs’ dangers in it. According to experts, there’s about 1/10 of a gram on the average person’s gluteal fold. Considering a situation with five people inside a bathtub, there’s about a tablespoon of poop in it. As gross as it sounds, you need to be aware of this since this can be the cause of several infections.
Urinating in a pool is already as bad as it sounds, but doing it in a hot tub is even worse and, obviously, something you shouldn’t do in a hot tub. When chlorine mixes with feces, urine, and sweat, it can create a well-known irritant “chloramine”. Chloramine causes irritated red eyes and coughing. Remember to wash before and after you’re done with a hot tub.
7. E. Coli and Shigellosis
Another tub sickness that is spread due to poorly maintained pools and unwashed people getting in and out. Common symptoms are diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain. Also, if you accidentally swallow some contaminated water you might experience E. coli and Shigellosis symptoms. However, there’s no need for medical help in most cases.
One of the most common waterborne diseases in the United States is Crypto. You may contract it if a microscopic Cryptosporidium parasite gets into your body. It is tolerant of chlorine since it has a hard outer shell, which is why it is considered one of the hot tub dangers. Usually, people recover without medical help if they have normal immune systems. Still, some may experience vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. Some filters might help you to get rid of it.
9. Scalding and burns
Believe it or not, thermal burns are associated with water more often than fire. Keep in mind that your hot tub heater should never exceed 104 degrees, and sitting for two hours in water that’s about 113 degrees will cause severe second-degree burns. This is not necessary a hot tub sickness, rather something you have to pay attention to to avoid getting hurt. Also, spending more than 15 minutes in a hot tub is not recommended since the hot water may start to impact your organs.
Pregnant women should never expose their bodies to temperatures above 102.2 degrees according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Such high temperatures may cause birth defects that can be avoided. Still, for some of the moms that won’t listen to the advice, ACOG recommends limiting time spent in the hot tub to 10 minutes at most. Spending more than 10 minutes will put you at a higher risk for hypothermia.
Q: Is it bad to stay in a hot tub for too long?
Yes, it is bad to stay in a hot tub for too long because your body is at risk of overheating. If the outside temperature is too low, this may cause hypothermia which leads to fainting. Besides, you could experience vomiting or nausea.
Q: Can you get sick from a hot tub?
You can get sick from a hot tub if it is not disinfected and cleaned properly. Bacteria which can be found in the tub water usually causes itchy skin or bumps. On the other hand, you can get ill by breathing in the bacteria through the mist.
Q: Is it bad to go underwater in a hot tub?
It is a very bad idea to go underwater in a hot tub. By doing this, you can increase the risk of health implications. Putting sensitive areas underwater puts them at risk because of dangerous bacteria. Also, the drain could catch your hair which can lead to serious injury.
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Hot tub dangers are very much real – as silly as it sounds. You probably never even gave it a thought since they are usually related to relaxing and having a great time overall. Still, you need to be careful when using a hot tub for many different reasons, especially if you’re using a public hot tub.
You can’t be sure whether it has been disinfected and cleaned before you use it, and who used it before you. One way to stay safe is to talk with personnel and ask for information about the hot tub. Besides, make sure you stay safe by showering before entering the water. Following our tips will certainly keep you out of trouble.
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