Hot tubs are a great place to relax, unwind, and spend time with your friends, but unfortunately, they can come with some pretty nasty side effects. Each time you go into one of those heated babies, you should be aware of all of the gross things that can happen when you go into a hot tub. As fun they are, hot tubs aren't the most hygienic, which means going into one can leave you with not only germs, but certain types of infections and skin rashes.
Most hot tub temperatures are typically 104 degrees or less, which means they're not hot enough to kill the bacteria that thrive in warm water, according to Jonathan Yoder, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal. When going in a hot tub, you'll want to make sure the water is clear, not murky, that there are no slimy edges, and that it's properly chlorinated. Going into a tub that is probably maintained and cleaned can help prevent any illness or infection.
Next time you're cozying up in some warm water, you'll want to make sure you're paying attention to these seven gross things that can happen when you go in a hot tub.
1. You Can Get A Skin Rash Called "Hot Tub Folliculitis"
"This is an infection that gives rise to inflammation of the hair follicles, and it is typically caused by the bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa," says Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, M.D., M.S. over email. "Hot tubs may be a breeding ground for this type of bacteria, which can cause one to experience a very itchy red rash on the body that may appear as quickly as several hours post exposure."
2. You Can Contract E. Coli From Fecal Matter
It's pretty nasty, but when people get into a hot tub, so does their leftover fecal matter. According to Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and environmental studies at The University of Arizona, who spoke to huffingtonpost.com, the average bather has about a tenth of a gram of feces that remains in their butt cracks. This could increase your risk of getting e. coli, which could lead to problems such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, or nausea if you end up swallowing water.
3. You Can Get Legionnaires Disease
Going in a hot tub could also end up giving you a respiratory infection. "Breathing in the steam from a hot tub contaminated with the bacteria Legionella can seriously expose one to this pathogen," says Okeke-Igbokwe. "This bacteria can lead to lung infections that may potentially be deadly. Those at higher risk for the disease upon exposure include immunocompromised patients, smokers, and the older population."
4. You Can Get Chloramine Irritation
When someone pees in a hot tub, the chlorine in the hot tub combined with urine can give rise to a class of chemicals known as chloramines. "These chloramines can lead to eye and skin irritation," says Okeke-Igbokwe. "One may experience very red itchy eyes and sometimes even respiratory symptoms."
5. You Increase Your Risk Of Yeast Infection
Sitting in a hot tub can leave you more susceptible to a yeast infection, according to healthline.com, as the heat and moisture provides an ideal environment for the yeast to grow. Avoid sitting in the hot tub for too long, and make sure to change out of your wet bathing suit right away.
6. You Could Have Diarrhea From Parasites
Even with chlorine, certain parasites can still survive in hot tub water, including one particular culprit, Cryptosporidium, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This particular chlorine-resistant parasite usually results in bouts of diarrhea. This is also the case for Giardia, another common parasite that can survive in treated waters, according to Good Housekeeping.
7. You Can Increase Your Risk Of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
No one likes getting a UTI, but stepping into a hot tub can increase your risk of getting an infection. This is thanks to the various organisms found in hot tubs that can make their way up your urethra, according to webmd.com.