What to do if sick from whirlpools, hot tubs, Jacuzzis

Sitting in warm hot swirling water can be hazardous to health. Not only from the people or creatures who share or have shared your experience, but also from the pipes, chemicals, and atmosphere itself.

Hot Tub Dermatitis and More

Pseudomonas dermatitis or hot tub folliculitis is associated with warm water that helps the organism grow. Enlarged skin pores from heat, scratches, or shaving provide easy access for the organism that may appear about 48 hours after bathing. This is not the same organism as folliculitis from irritated shaved skin and the staph bacteria found on the skin.Tiny irritating papules with pustules usually disappear within 5 days. Some pigmentation may remain.

The overgrowth of pseudomonas aeruginosa has also caused urinary tract infections in some whirlpool users. Artifical nails can hasten susceptibility to fungal infections.

Pontiac fever (similar to flu) has been related to whirlpool use with a group of people developing chills, fever, and nausea within 2 days of bathing together.

The Head and Face in the Hot Tub or Jacuzzi Absorbs Germs

Typically the head is kept of the water so maladies such as swimmers ear or swimming pool conjunctivitis aren’t common. But infected air particles can breathed in and there is a documented case of a smoker inhaling droplets from his spa water a day before developing symptoms that were later found in the water as well.

Mycobacterium avium, a pulmonary infection was documented by comparing isolates from a hot tub to the person who became ill.

Stool and Feces in the Hot Tub or Whirlpool

Fecal matter breaks into the skin already broken by scratches or shaving. Giardia, a small-intestine diarrhea disease, can be spread by swallowing contaminated water. 95% of whirlpools tested in a Texas A&M University study contained samples of fecal matter.

Trichomonas, another parasitic disease, can be inherited by sharing a moist towel or hot tub that has been infected. It doesn’t live long in the hot liquid environment so it typically is passed by sexual contact but it has been recorded to appear without sex.

Disinfectants must be used in hot tubs and filters must be frequently cleaned and changed. Chemicals must be used to keep the water environment germ free. Vinegar is a nice natural cleanser but if it’s a public hot tub, smell the chlorine in the air and even then, use caution. Mold, feces, dead insects, and more may be stuck in the workings of the hot tub. Bathing with strangers or where strangers have bathed isn’t always a restful experience.