Relaxing in a hot tub can feel great, but it can also leave you prone to infections. Because chlorine and other disinfectants break down faster in hot water, hot tubs can be a breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. One particular bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most common, and it’s also known as “hot tub rash.”
Symptoms include an itchy red rash, bumps and pus-filled blisters. The rash can usually clear up on its own within a few days, but it sometimes requires anti-itch cream or antibiotics.
Additionally, the bacteria present in hot tubs can also affect your lungs. The steam and bubbles can launch bacteria into the air, which can cause a respiratory infection known as “hot tub lung.” Symptoms of this sickness include coughing, shortness of breath, and fever.
To avoid any pesky rashes or lung infections, you’ll want to make sure your hot tub is consistently cleaned and disinfected. The water and water filter should be replaced regularly, and the hot tub should be tested frequently for ph levels and disinfectants. Additionally, always shower off and wash your bathing suit right away after spending time in the hot tub.
And as a Consumer Reports article advises, those with any kind of skin abrasion, low immunity or high blood pressure may be best off skipping a dip in a hot tub. Be sure to consult with your doc if you have cause for concern.