It is really relaxing to soak your body in a hot tub after a long day. However, there is a risk of experiencing some adverse effects in doing so. One of these bothersome complications is having a skin condition known as hot tub folliculitis (also called Pseudomonas folliculitis and jacuzzi folliculitis).
What is Hot Tub folliculitis?
It is a skin condition that can affect the areas around the lower parts where hair follicles are. It is caused by certain kinds of bacteria that grow in wet and warm areas. These bacteria exist in any kind of hot tub, even in the best hot tubs. Nevertheless, the bacteria is commonly seen thriving in hot tubs made of wood.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is the bacteria that cause hot tub folliculitis. They grow in moist and warm places. They can survive in water with chlorine unlike other kinds of bacteria. Thus, they are difficult to kill.
Anyone can be affected by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, but there are some people who are more susceptible to develop an infection. They are the following:
A bumpy, itchy, and red rash is the main symptom of hot tub folliculitis. These bumps may have pus inside which look like an acne. The rash can be seen a couple of hours to several days after being exposed to the bacteria.
After it starts to form, you may see the rash turning into nodules that are painful or tender and dark red in color. It can be seen in the chest area because this is commonly hit by the water level. There is also a possibility that the rash can appear in areas where a swimsuit was worn. It is because this is the part where the bacteria and water were trapped for long period of time.
There are cases that a person may have a general feeling of being unwell. A sore throat, nausea, headache, or an earache can be experienced as well.
If the hot tub folliculitis is mild, it can be cured without any treatment within 2 weeks. Hot tub folliculitis treatment at home can make the healing process much quicker. Some of the home treatments you can do are the following:
- Using a warm compress to improve healing and lessen itching
- Applying anti-itching lotions or cream to help alleviate discomfort
- Applying antibacterial cream such as Neosporin to the area to avoid having a secondary infection
- Using apple cider vinegar directly to the affected area or by mixing it in hot tub water and soaking in it
Your doctor can give you medications if you need to fully recover from your infection. Antibacterial ointments that are applied topically or antibiotics that are oral or topical can be prescribed. By using any of these medications, you can recover from your infection fast.
It can heal without forming a scar as long as you do not pick or scratch the rash while it heals.
Using hot tubs that have been thoroughly and regularly cleaned and treated with hot tub chemicals is the most effective way to prevent hot tub folliculitis. You should maintain and monitor the chlorine and acid levels in your hot tub. Moreover, you should do hot tub water care by installing a water filtration device. The chlorine in hot tubs disintegrates faster because hot tub temperature is warmer as compared to pools. Therefore, thorough treatment is needed.
In case your skin has the bacteria, you cannot prevent the infection even if you act quickly. Fortunately, you do not need to worry since there are precautionary measures you can do to lessen the risk of coming into contact with the bacteria.
- Do not remove or shave hair before immersing yourself in your hot tub. You should wax a day or a couple of days if possible before you use a hot tub.
- Do not wear a damp swimsuit for a long time. You should immediately remove it after using a hot tub and shower with soap and water.
- After using the hot tub, wash your swimsuit thoroughly. You can get infected later on if you do not do it.
You can ask a pool attendant how often their hot tub is treated if you have concerns. Hot tub water that is checked two times a day is normally safe.
Finally, you can avoid having hot tub folliculitis. You just need to understand this skin condition and follow the preventive measures mentioned. If something is still unclear with you, do not hesitate to ask your physician for help.