A hot tub might offer a great place to relax and have fun with family or friends, but that joy doesn’t come without a certain amount of risk. Most men know that sitting in a hot tub for an extended period of time can affect their fertility on a short term basis and that might be bad news. There’s also the health risk of a public hot tub having certain bodily fluids in the water that you don’t know about.
Then there are these additional health risks that come with using a hot tub that you may not know about. Let’s take a look at each issue.
- Hot Tub Lung
This is a lung inflammation that is directly linked to hot tub use. It occurs when there is exposure to a certain bacteria that is found in public water: Nontuberculous mycobacteria. You don’t need to dunk your head underneath the water to be exposed to these bacteria. As soon as you turn on the jets to the hot tub and the water begins to spray, you can inhale the bacteria directly into your lungs.
The end result of Hot Tub Lung is a fever, trouble breathing, and influenza-like symptoms. Repeated exposure can cause the bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics and steroid treatments.
- Pink Eye
There’s another type of bacteria that can be found in hot tubs that affects the eyes, ears, and skin. Called Pseudomonas, these bacteria can cause a common form of pink eye in adults. It’s also the reason why your skin might be red and itchy the next day after you’ve been in the hot tub. External infections can often be treated by an antibiotic cream.
- Legionnaire’s Disease
Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia that is also caused by bacteria: Legionella. Like Hot Tub Lung, the bacteria which can cause the pneumonia to develop are sprayed up into the air with the mist or steam of the hot tub.
- Heart Problems
Many public hot tubs have warning signs next to them that warn people with heart conditions not to use them. This is because the sudden immersion into hot water can superheat the body, which puts added stress on the heart. Extended immersion in a hot tub can also do the same thing. The issue is how the body reacts to the heat: as your temperature goes up, your blood pressure goes down.
This can lead to feelings of dizziness or faintness. Nausea is common. Abnormal heart rhythms may develop from the sudden change. And, if you have atherosclerosis, you’re going to actually increase your blood pressure because of the hardening of the arteries and blood vessels. That puts you at a higher risk of a sudden heart attack.
What Can I Do to Limit My Risks?
To avoid the health risks of using a hot tub, it is best to stay out of the water if there is a break in your skin, a skin infection, or other redness or irritation happening. Even a slight sunburn can be enough damage to let the germs get through your skin. And, if you have an infection already, being in the hot tub can spread it to others.
Limit your time to 5-10 minutes, especially if you have a heart condition.
And finally, follow the advice of your doctor. If the medical advice given to you is to stay out, then stay out.
By knowing the risks of using a hot tub, those risks can be managed. Stay happy, stay healthy, and keep this guide in mind so that you can avoid the health issues that are associated with hot tub use.
But don’t let the risks deter your from the many health benefits, with the risks managed, read about the great health benefits here.