Hot tub folliculitis, more commonly known as hot tub rash, is an annoying condition that can cause severe discomfort to the sufferer. As enjoyable and relaxing as a hot tub session can be, it is important to remember that skin irritation is common. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have sensitive skin to develop hot tub rash, which is why knowing how to prevent it in the first place is necessary. Most people think that just because they maintain their hot tubs regularly by adding the recommended cleaning chemicals (i.e. chlorine and bromine) that skin rash will not happen to them.
This is simply not the case, however, especially for hot tub owners that prefer to keep their water temperature really hot. The reason being that hot water works to breakdown chemical cleaning agents; when the latter have been removed, a person’s skin is subjected to bacteria and other harmful contaminants. Knowing how to detect folliculitis is the best way to prevent this disease, as the causes are often related to poor hot tub maintenance. Here are some helpful tips for keeping hot tub rash at bay.
How to prevent hot tub rash
- Maintain your hot tub by testing the water and treating it as needed; keeping the pH level at the right amount and shocking the hot tub when chemical imbalances are present is an absolute must.
- The general rule of thumb is to add chemicals once every two weeks, but you may need to do so more often if you use your hot tub more often and if multiple people are getting in the water.
- The most common form of hot tub rash is caused when many people get in the water at once; the sanitizing agents are temporarily halted, which gives contaminants just enough time to be absorbed into the skin. When everyone exits the hot tub, the chemical balance returns to normal. This is often why folliculitis seems to come out of nowhere.
- A more serious situation occurs when Pseudomonas bacteria (the type that case hot tub rash) establish a lasting resident in the water. This occurs when owners fail to properly maintain their machines. If given enough time, the bacteria will form a protective barrier against sanitizing agents. When this happens, the bacteria can be very difficult to get rid of.
- In addition to keeping your hot tub water clean and sanitized, taking a shower before entering the tub will minimize the presence of bacteria.
- Test the pH level every couple of days to avoid unexpected problems; testing strips are a cheap but necessary accessory to have on hand.
- Replace your filter when needed; a clogged or dirty filter will fail to adequately eliminate contaminants in the water that contribute to folliculitis.
- Buy a hot tub cover to keep debris out of the water; leaves and sticks can instantly turn contaminate water upon contact.