Hot Tub Folliculitis: Prevention and Treatment

Last updated on: June 2nd, 2018

It’s a dream of every homeowner to possess a hot tub that could act as part of remedy after a stressful day at work or at home with house chores. But sometimes no matter how hard you try, you find yourself in the middle of the hot tub rush menace that you wouldn’t wish on anyone else. So are you really doing enough to protect yourself and your loved ones from this peace depriving nightmare? Hot tub folliculitis can be all that and much more. This article seeks to equip you with sufficient information on this important topic.

What is Hot Tub Folliculitis?

Also commonly referred to as hot tub rush or pseudomonas Dermatitis, hot tub folliculitis normally occurs in home spas and requires special attention to counter.

So if you have been participating in hot tub discussions, you might have come across a few mentions concerning this issue.

The important thing you need to note, however, is the fact that this condition is not restricted to home hot tubs alone but rather any large water source such as swimming pools, oceans, and even lakes.

But then, they are commonly detected in home tubs, hence the need for you to exercise caution.

So what exactly is this?

Hot tub folliculitis is caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria that live in our surroundings.

When a large number of this bacteria gets its way into your hot tub, they contaminate the water and sticks in your hair follicles when you having a soak.

rashThey then emerge in form of pimples and cause a telltale rash.

Therefore, if you detect bumpy reddish rushes around your hair follicles, then your first guess should be the hot tub folliculitis.

If left untreated for some time, then you might notice the development of severe symptoms such as respiratory infections, fever, and inflamed/tender breasts.

The symptoms are more rapid in children and persons with low immunity.

How to Prevent Hot Tub Folliculitis

Contrary to what many people believe, you cannot prevent infection after exposure to contaminated water by showering in fresh water.

Instead, you should pay more attention to your hot tub’s chemistry.

Yes, you heard right!

Your hot tub has a chemistry, which is at the center of how safe your water can get.

Basically, this all depends on the amount of water sanitizer in your hot tub, so you have to ensure that it’s at the correct level and the PH is as it should.

If you carefully adhere to this, then you might as well say goodbye to hot tub rush for good.

So how do you about making your hot tub resistant to Pseudomonas aeruginosa?

  • Ensure your water’s PH remains at a constant range of 7.2-7.8
  • Frequently test your water to ensure it contains free chlorine of 2-4 parts per million (ppm) or bromine of 4-6 ppm.

Frequently test your waterAlso, remember to often test the PH of your hot tub water at least once a week at the comfort of your home and at least once or twice a month to external testers such as local hot tub dealers within your location.

Through this, you can be sure not to miss out on any early symptoms.

There are also other factors that you need to consider the frequency of your hot tub water testing habits and they include;

Remember the more people you are and the more times you use your hot tub, the higher chances of hot tub rush occurrence.

So the best thing you can do apart from regular testing is to correct your water chemistry to ensure balanced sanitization.

Consequently, be sure to pay particular attention to your general body hygiene after hot tub soaking sessions.

For instance, make it a habit to bath with soap and thoroughly clean the areas beneath your swimming costume and ensure to give your swimsuit a complete cleaning session, rather than drying them up with the swim water.

How pH Affects Folliculitis Development?

While it’s understandable as to why you need quality sanitizers for your hot tub water, most people don’t get the logic behind achieving a balanced PH.

Let’s think of it this way, there is nothing really great about having a high or low PH as both can be destructive to essential chemical blending in your water, hence reducing the efficiency of your sanitizer.

So it’s for this reason you need to ensure a good PH balance.

How Can I Spot Hot Tub Folliculitis?

If you haven’t had a hot tub rush case in your household and are wondering how to detect them, the answer is pretty simple.

They come out n plenty just like those irritating chicken pox rushes and trust us, they aren’t a pleasing sight.

You might also notice some whiteheads on some of the bumps.

The good thing is that you might not feel sore or experience any kind of fever with these ones unlike those for chicken pox.

Most of the time, if you come in contact with the rash when swimming, then they would first appear on the covered areas before you notice some of them on other parts of the body such as arms, legs and at the extreme, your face.

However, you will have to wait for up to one week for the symptoms to appear.

When You Have a Case of Hot Tub Folliculitis…

Sometimes so many things happen around you that you forget to stick to your hot tub maintenance schedule.

And then it hits you that something is definitely wrong when you notice some hot tub rush on yourself or family member.

It’s normal to feel sad about it but over sulking over it wouldn’t do you any good, right? Why not instead bounce into action?

How Do I Treat Hot Tub Folliculitis?

The good thing about the hot tub rush is the fact that it takes time to exhibit extreme symptoms such as itching and fever development.

So if it gets to the point that you are experiencing all this, then there isn’t much you can do but rather wait for time to heal.

You would be glad to learn, however, that this rush isn’t infectious so you don’t have to quarantine yourself from close family and friends.

On the contrary, you carry on with life as usual and if discomfort isn’t your vocabulary, you can even hang out at your favorite joints.

Keep in mind that you can only expose yourself to this infection with prolonged warm water soaking in contaminated water.

So you have to follow simple steps to heal faster and that’s staying away from the contaminated hot tub, at least until you are sure it’s safe again for use.

Also, no matter how hard it might be, resist from scratching the rash.

Assume it doesn’t exist and see how that comes to pass.

You can try keeping yourself occupied to pass time.

Soothe the Itch

Well, some things are better said than done, right? While it might be easy to convince yourself to keep your fingers away from the itching rush, it isn’t that easy to keep the promise.

So what to do next? Try to find some relief remedies such as these ones;

  • Don’t scratch! As unrealistic as it might sound, there is a reason as to why scratching isn’t easy to stop once you start.

So even if you might experience some relief after each scratch, it all ends up being a short-lived solution.

In fact, you will come to realize that the more you scratch, the more badly the itching gets and the wider/deeper the rash becomes.

Thus instead of helping yourself out of the mess, you end up creating a more advanced problem of prolonged infections that could leave in wanted scars.

  • Don’t even think of shaving that infected part! As we mentioned earlier, hot tub rushes are commonly experienced on hair follicles.

Therefore, most individuals fall into the temptation of shaving maybe with a hope of achieving some substantial relief.

However, contrary to expectations, you might end up triggering the spread of the infection that could turn out worse than better.

So keep that shaving machine away.

Would you?

  • Use a selenium or propylene glycol Shampoo on that scalp/beard rash.

Remember this advice applies to only infections present on the beard or scalp areas.

Through using the shampoo you would experience some level of relief, which is exactly what you need at that time.

However, don’t place your expectations too high, this isn’t a get well fast remedy, okay?! Hang in there, it should be well soon.

  • Have some white vinegar or aluminum acetate solution somewhere in the house? Then it’s time you make good use of it.

If you don’t have either of this, you can always purchase some from the nearby store.

All you need to do is create a warm compressor home remedy for the rash.

First mix warm water with either white vinegar or aluminum acetate solution, then press compress against the rash for about 10 minutes every three or so hours in a day.

Be sure to clean the cloth after use to avoid reinfections.

Expect the rash to disappear in a weeks’ time and things should get better as it heals.

If this doesn’t happen and the infection gets worse or you experience prolonged healing; that’s more than a week.

Then it’s time to consult a physician.

Your doctor might prescribe additional antibiotics or antibacterial ointments depending on the severity of the condition.

How to Clean Your Contaminated Hot Bath Tub

As we had mentioned earlier, there exist chances that you can get hot tub rush from other large water sources such as swimming pools and lakes.

However, if it happens that yours comes from your home hot tub, then you and your other family members should stop using it with immediate effect.

This will not only boost your healing process but also protect your loved ones from similar infections.

And since the P. aeruginosa bacteria is stubborn and can survive for ages in other hot tub areas such as filters and pipes, stabilizing the PH might not be enough.

So what next? Draining and cleaning, of course!

  1. Source out the right line flush product to use on your water and ensure to strictly adhere to the circulation instructions on the products.
  2. While at it, ensure to keep your hot tub safe by disconnecting the power to avoid accidental damages to the pumps and heater.
  3. It’s now time to go shopping for a new set of filters.
    Remember thorough cleaning and sanitizing won’t be enough, discard that idea.
  4. Now make sure to completely drain your hot tub with the help of the drain plug.
  5. Afterward, it’s time to get your cleaning skills into the test.
    Make use of a bleach solution together with water.
    The amount of these two largely depends on the surface to be cleaned so follow the instructions on the packages.
  6. Once the area is clean, spray with a lot of water to completely eliminate the chemicals and then wipe the surface clean with a clean cloth.
    You don’t want to tamper with the water chemistry.
  7. Now fix your new filters and refill your precious hot tub.
  8. Once the filters are placed, turn back the power, run the tub and test your water’s PH.
  9. Now it’s time to add some sanitizer before circulating your hot tub water and setting the temperature.
  10. The next step is to let your hot tub run for at least 24 hrs.
    Before retesting and readjusting the chemicals.
  11. Get yourself soaked in your safe hot tub! Enjoy!

Conclusion

If Hot tub folliculitis isn’t something you have been taking seriously, then you now know why you need to protect yourself and your loved ones from it.

Remember you can achieve all these through regular water chemistry checkup sessions and general body hygiene.

And if you, unfortunately, you happen to get an infection, take good care of yourself and take caution to prevent reoccurrence.

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