Hot tub rash is a skin disease that happens because the hair follicles are infected. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the bacterium responsible for this. From its name, the bacteria can be found in swimming pools, hot tubs, and loofah sponges. The medical term for this skin condition is hot tub folliculitis or Pseudomonas folliculitis.
This is more common among children than adults since they spend a longer time in swimming pools and hot tubs. Therefore, you need to focus on hot tub water care if there are children in your house.
People at Risk for Hot Tub Rash
Hot tub rash can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, and gender even though they own the best hot tubs. People who have a history of using loofah sponge that has been contaminated, wearing a contaminated swimming suit, and swimming in a contaminated swimming pool, hot tub or spa are the usual victims of this skin condition.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes hot tub rash, appears due to poor maintenance of pools and hot tubs. Thus, these rashes can usually be seen in the buttock and back areas. Although it is not contagious, it can be passed to another person if they share a hot tub or a razor.
Signs and Symptoms of Hot Tub Rash
- One noticeable manifestation of hot tub rash is the appearance of reddish papules with the size of 0.5 to 1 centimeter. These papules can be found around the hair follicles, and there is also a pustule at the middle.
- In the first stages, the infected skin has an itchy sensation that can be mild to intense.
- After a couple of days, you will see an eruption of small and itchy bumps. The bumps are raised from the affected skin area.
- Then, these bumps become sensitive and tender. Because of these, you will see a formation of reddish skin nodules with pus.
- When these rashes come in contact with contaminated water, they might erupt in any part of the body.
- With the causal bacterium, signs, and symptoms usually become apparent after 2 days of coming in contact with the infection.
- The outburst of skin problems and rashes are severe in the parts which are covered by a swimsuit. It is because the water that is contaminated stays in the body parts for a long period of time.
- Other than manifestations on the skin, the person with hot tub rash rarely have fever-like symptoms and increased sleepiness.
- Its difference with other skin conditions is that it is not infectious. Thus, the bacterium cannot be transmitted through direct contact with a person that is infected.
- Nevertheless, one should always be cautious and do extra care of the skin.
Doctors can identify and diagnose hot tub folliculitis only by taking a look at it and learning that patient have been into a pool or tub recently. Usually, additional diagnostic tests are not required.
In case the typical treatment does not work, taking a sample of the skin might be required by the physician to identify the cause of the rashes.
Without hot tub rash treatment, the skin condition disappears within 7 to 14 days. However, the rashes may turn into dark and hyperpigmented patches on the skin. These spots are more apparent with people who have dark skin. They may have to wait for a couple of months before the skin has normal pigmentation.
Ways to Prevent Hot Tub Rash
- Take off your swimsuit after you swim and shower using soap.
- Rinse your swimsuit after using it.
- Inquire to your hot tub or pool operator if hot tub chemicals like chlorine and the pH levels are checked two times a day. This is important because pools with good disinfectant and right levels of pH are less likely to be harbored by germs. You can use pool test strips to check the levels of chlorine or bromine. In case you identify improper levels of bromine, pH, or chlorine, you need to contact your operator as soon as possible.
- It is also helpful to check and maintain the right hot tub temperature.
Hot tub rash does not cause serious health issues. However, similar to any health conditions, prevention is better. Therefore, knowing how to sanitize and determine the right time to change the hot tub or pool water is vital. You need to do these even if you own the most expensive hot tub.
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