Why Hot Tub Temperatures Max Out at 104 Degrees

Many people question why their spa will only heat to 104 ºF. Throughout history public bathing was done at higher temperatures. Even today, in Japan, many public bath houses have water up to 115 ºF.

Hot tubs & spas in the United States, Canada and most parts of the world have been regulated to obtain a maximum temperature of 104 ºF since 1980.  On Dec 31, 1979, the Consumer Products Safety Commission, CSPC, released advisory #79-071.

The advisory warned that heat strokes could be caused by water temperatures of 106 °F or higher.  The CSPC recommended a maximum temperature of 104°F for both public and private hot tubs and spas.

The advisory was adopted by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and lists it in their controlling document (#UL 1563) for home spas, equipment assemblies and associated equipment. The relevant portion of this document as it pertains to max temp regulations for home tubs and spas is section 32; Temperature Regulating Controls…

32.1 – A unit shall be provided with a water temperature regulating control that has a maximum set point of 40 °C (104 °F) in the tub.

32.2 – The temperature regulating control shall be adjustable and shall have marked settings, but it shall not have any settings marked hotter than 40 °C (104 °F).

32.3 –  A digital temperature regulating control that displays the selected temperature, but no higher than 40 °C (104 °F), may additionally display the actual temperature of the water.

UL has strongly advised that any hot tub or spa manufacturer that produces a control, or modifies a standard control, to exceed 104 °F is in violation of their UL listing and can have their listing pulled by UL.

The actual 1980 CSPC cover letter that accompanied advisory #79-071 is listed below:

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Warns of Hot Tub Temperatures
Release # 79-071
December 31, 1979

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 31, 1979) — Safety officials frequently warn the public about the dangers of drinking and driving. Now the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is cautioning that drinking and hot tubing do not mix well either.

According to CPSC staffers, the use of hot tubs at water temperatures above the normal body temperatures can cause drowsiness which may lead to unconsciousness and subsequently result in drowning.

The risk of drowning is significantly heightened if individuals consume alcoholic beverages while, or prior to, soaking in hot water, CPSC staff warns. The Commission has been informed of 10 deaths recorded so far in 1979, three of which involved alcohol-related drowning in hot tubs heated to approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even if no alcohol is consumed, extremely hot water during hot tub use can threaten life, CPSC reports. Soaking in a hot tub with water heated to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, for example, can raise human body temperature to the point of heat stroke (or impairment of the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature). These conditions can be fatal even to fully healthy adults.

Hot tub sales in the U.S. have increased about 125 percent in the past two years, from approximately 40,000 tubs sold in 1977 to approximately 90,000 sold this year. Based on industry projections, CPSC estimates that sales could climb as high as 135,000 tubs next year, a 50 per cent increase over 1979 sales.

As hot tubs have gained in popularity throughout the nation, so have concerns at CPSC that consumers learn how to use these products safely. Accordingly, CPSC staff strongly urges consumers to observe the following safety rules for hot tub use.

Safety Rules For Hot Tubs

  • Hot tub water temperatures should never exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature of 100 degrees is considered safe for a healthy adult. Special caution is suggested for young children.
  • Excessive drinking during hot tub use can cause drowsiness which could lead to unconsciousness and subsequently result in drowning.
  • Pregnant women beware! Soaking in water above 102 degrees Fahrenheit can cause fetal damage during the first three months of pregnancy (resulting in the birth of a brain damaged or deformed child). Pregnant women should stick to the 100-degree maximum rule.
  • Before entering the hot tub, users should check the water temperature with an accurate thermometer; hot tub thermostats may err in in regulating water temperatures by as much as four degrees.
  • Persons with medical history of heart disease, circulatory problems, and diabetes or blood pressure problems should obtain their physician’s advice before using hot tubs.
  • Persons taking medications which induce drowsiness, such as tranquilizers, anti-histamines or anti-coagulants, should not use hot tubs.

CPSC staff currently is working with staff from the Spa and Tub Association ( a division of the National Swimming Pool Institute) and the International Spa and Tub Institute (both of Santa Ana, California) as they develop voluntary safety standards for the manufacture, installation, and use of hot tubs. These standards, which are expected to reflect many of the above safety warnings, may take effect as soon as spring, 1980.

 

 

Hot Water Hydrotherapy and Its Health Benefits

Hot Water Hydrotherapy is the medicinal use of water for positive health benefits.

These health benefits come from the mechanical and thermal effects of water interacting with the body.

It includes the use of physical water properties, specifically temperature and pressure, to manipulate the body’s flow of blood, the endocrine system and associated neural systems in order to treat the symptoms of certain diseases.

The Physical Effects Of Hot Water Hydrotherapy On the Body

Hydrotherapy uses water to deliver temperature and pressure changes to the body. These changes are sensed by the body via nerve endings in the skin and muscle, and result in neural “reflex effects” that are controlled by the brain and spinal cord.

The most important of these reflex effects are vasodilatation and vasoconstriction, which are the terms used to describe the relaxation and tensing of the blood vessels in the body.

These physical changes in the blood vessels cause changes in the rate of blood flow and in the metabolic functions that are linked to the rate of blood flow.

Hot Water Hydrotherapy

In a reflexive response to external heat, your body initiates changes that help keep the body cool, including dilating blood vessels to increase the blood flow through them, diverting blood flow to the extremities and to the skin’s surface, opening the pores of the skin, activating sweat glands and relaxing muscles.

Over short durations, a hot bath will cause organs of the endocrine system to become less active, particularly the adrenal gland, and can decrease blood pressure. This results in a relaxed, less stressful state and helps calm the nervous system.

Inhaling the steam or vapor from hot water hydrotherapy can be beneficial effect for your lungs as well.

Moist, hot air causes the small airways and air sacs in the lungs to dilate and increases the lung’s ability to move phlegm and mucus out. It can also help people breathe in more easily, since the volume of space in the lungs slightly increases.

The Physical Nature of Hot Water in Hydrotherapy

In addition to temperature, the physical nature and pressure of water used in soaking, full body immersion or Hot Tub Hydrotherapy plays an important role in hot waters effect on the body.

Weightlessness – In water, you weigh 10% of your actual body weight, so your body is relieved of the normal pressures exerted by gravity. This “weightlessness” alleviates pressure on joints and muscles (muscles don’t have to work as hard to keep body in position) helping to ease pain.

Water pressure & Underwater Exercise– Because water is denser than air, water pushes on your body more than air, helping to support body joints and muscles and making it more difficult for fluids to accumulate under the skin or in extremities.

The pressure water exerts on your skin and muscles as you move your body through water can also help move blood through the veins and back towards the heart.

Water produces a soothing, massage-like sensation on the skin that results in specific responses from the brain that help calm and soothe the body.

That effect is further heightened by the addition of water jets or air bubbles to the water, which enhance the sensations on the skin and in the muscles.

Water Jets – A light massage from water jets activates nerves in the skin and muscles that increase blood circulation to the massage area resulting in better tissue oxygenation, toxin evacuation, and muscle relaxation.

Air Bubbles – The gentle, tingling sensation people experience on the skin from the presence of many tiny air bubbles in water causes certain neural reflexes to activate, resulting in beneficial chemical reactions that promote muscle relaxation and a mental state of contentment.

Health Benefits of Hot Water Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy regiments can be designed to treat any number of maladies by creating different combinations of water temperature, water pressure and delivery methods. The most common ailments Hydrotherapy is used to treat include arthritis pain, back pain, headaches and muscle pain.

 

These ailments respond well to changes in the body that are brought about by temperature and pressure differentials and by increased or decreased blood flow. Hydrotherapy is also useful for relieving the discomfort and pain caused by a variety of symptoms associated with different diseases and injuries.

Hot Water Hydrotherapy is the most popular home Hydrotherapy remedy, not only because it is the most comfortable and enjoyable form of Hydrotherapy, but also because it stimulates nerve reflexes that result in the calming of the lungs, heart, stomach and endocrine system.

It is often used to relax patients, promote blood flow, aid in the healing process, tone the body, stimulate the immune system and alleviate the pain or discomfort associated with deep muscle, joint or connective tissue ailments, injuries or abnormalities.

Increased blood flow has important positive effects on our bodies. More efficient oxygenation of tissues helps injuries heal faster and more efficient removal of toxins from tissue helps prevent injuries and increases tissue resiliency.

Hot Water Hydrotherapy is used to achieve a wide variety of positive health benefits including:

• Fights Infection & Injury – By increasing the rate of blood flow in the body, hot water Hydrotherapy increases circulation of the immune system’s white blood cells, enabling the immune system to work faster and more efficiently.

A hot soak increases the production of endorphins in the body as well. Endorphins are the body’s “pain killers” and are associated with feelings of elation or happiness. Endorphins also stimulate the immune system, alleviate pain, and help tissues heal faster.

• Helps Clear Respiratory Infections – The inhalation of steam, particularly those medicated with compounds like menthol, alleviates the constriction of swollen lung canals and air sacs, allowing fluids and mucus to move out of the lungs more readily, and oxygen into the lungs more efficiently.

When your body fights lung infections, they move the ‘remains’ of organisms it has killed (and your spent white blood cells) out of your body via mucus, so clearing mucus and fluid out of your lungs is important in helping your body clear an infection as quickly as possible.

• Reduces Pain & Inflammation from Arthritis and Rheumatisms – The increase in blood flow brought about by hot water helps muscles relax, which lessens stress and pressure on joints, thereby alleviating pain from arthritis and rheumatism.

Inflammation in surrounding muscles and connective tissue is caused by a combination of cellular reactions to injury and a buildup of fluids, and when blood flow is increased, the body is able to reabsorb fluids faster and heal injury faster, helping reduce inflammation over time.

• Helps Improve Sleep & Relieve Stress – The calming effects hot water has on the nervous and endocrine systems help put our bodies in a “lower gear”, thereby relaxing us mentally.

This state of heightened relaxation makes it easier for us to fall asleep and helps alleviate daily stress and anxiety.

• Prevents Headaches – When blood vessels dilate, the physical space our blood has to fill in our bodies increases, and therefore overall systemic blood pressure decreases. Headaches are often brought about by high pressure in the arteries of the skull, so lower blood pressure helps prevent this from happening.

In addition, stress is often a culprit of constricted blood flow to the brain, which can also lead to headaches. Since hot water Hydrotherapy treatments help alleviate stress, they can also limit the onset of stress-induced headaches as well.

• Helps Control Blood Sugar in Diabetics – Recent studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine have shown that people with Type 2 Diabetes had an easier time controlling their plasma sugar levels and weight when they soaked in hot water for 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week.

In some instances, people needed less insulin each day as well. The increased blood flow, which mimics exercise and decreases activity of the endocrine system while increasing blood circulation to and from tissues, plays a role in the body’s ability to maintain glucose levels. Hydrotherapy is especially helpful in alleviating painful symptoms in people who have a harder time exercising than those who do not.

• Reduces Symptoms in Patients with Nerve, Muscle or Connective Tissue Diseases – Because hot water Hydrotherapy has a calming effect on the nervous system and helps increase blood flow to soft tissue, it helps alleviate symptoms associated with neural and muscular diseases by decreasing demands on neurons, decreasing stress in the muscles, and increasing the flow of oxygen to soft tissues, which aids in healing.

• Relaxes Muscles, Heals Muscle Injuries & Relieves Muscle Disease Symptoms – Hot water Hydrotherapy is especially helpful in bringing increased blood flow to the soft tissues of the body, particularly the muscles. In cases where people suffer from muscle injury or disease, hot water Hydrotherapy can provide great relief from many muscle discomforts including cramps, swelling, pain and spasms.

• Treats Circulatory Problems – When blood vessels dilate, as they do during hot water Hydrotherapy treatment, circulation and blood flow is increased, particularly to soft tissue like muscles. This is especially helpful in people who suffer from circulation problems, especially to the limbs and extremities.

People who suffer from cold hands and feet will find that many times hot Hydrotherapy doesn’t only provide an immediate relief, but that it continues to help even hours after the initial soaking period.

Hot Water Hydrotherapy Precautions

While Hydrotherapy has many potentially beneficial health effects, too much heat can affect health adversely.

In addition, people with certain types of diseases and health problems should avoid Hydrotherapy or only use Hydrotherapy under the direct supervision of a physician.

In all cases, it is important to discuss your Hydrotherapy plans with your doctor before starting Hydrotherapy and follow his or her advice and direction.

Once you have embarked upon your Hot Water Hydrotherapy regiment, be sure to monitor your progress and report any issues or side effects that arise to your doctor so they can make adjustments as needed.

Hot Tub & Spa Energy Saving & Water Conservation Tips

The list below contains energy saving and water conservation tips for Hot Tub and Spa owners from various Government Agencies and Municipalities.

1. Reset Thermostat – Some hot tubs and spas come preset @ 104 degrees. You can save energy and reduce your monthly utility bill by setting your hot tub heater thermostat to maintain 102 degrees Fahrenheit without noticing a drop off in water temperature.

2. Shift Hot Tub Water Heating to Off-Peak Times – If your hot tub or spa has a timer, you can reduce peak loads and pressure on utility rates by programming the timer to “off” during peak hours (6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) A well-insulated, energy efficient hot tub will maintain temperature for several hours after the heater is turned off.

3. Turn Down the Thermostat When You’re on Vacation – The majority of hot tub and spa owners don’t turn down or turn off their tub heating thermostats when they go on vacation or are away from home for an extended period of time.

If you won’t be using your hot tub for 5 or more consecutive days, you can save money and energy by turning your tub heating thermostat off or down to a point that it should not come on while you are away from home.

4. Reduce Pumping Cycles – Normally filtration cycles for many single and two speed pumps are set for four hours. You may be able to reduce the filtration cycles to three hours – during off-peak hours.

This adjustment should be based on your usage pattern, so you can maintain clear, clean and safe water. If your spa has a low wattage circulation pump – leave it alone, it’s designed to run continuously.

5. Use a Highly Rated Insulating Foam Hot Tub or Spa Cover – Standard covers have an insulating value of approximately R-12 to R-14 (though we offer spa covers as high as R-22). Keeping a cover in good condition is essential because most heat loss will be through the spa cover. Replace the cover if the interior foam is broken or water-saturated.

A water-logged cover will increase energy consumption from heat loss. Make sure the cover and tub lip fit snugly, straps are tied and the cover is latched when the hot tub is not in use.

This will reduce heat leakage. To handle the cover more easily and extend its life, consider using a lifting system.

6. Add a Floating Thermal Blanket – An energy-efficient floating thermal blanket will help retain heat and reduces the amount of moisture build-up on the inside of your cover. Adding just a 1/4″ closed-cell foam floating blanket under your hard cover can increase your total R-value by 4.

7. Avoid Wasting Water – Repair any leaks and adjust jets or use booster pads to adjust your height so you’re not sending streams of water on the deck.

8. Drain Your Hot Tub Only When Necessary – Hot tubs that are heavily used should be drained every 3 – 4 months. To conserve our water resources, use your old tub water to irrigate your landscaping or water your lawn.

Make sure that most or all of the chemicals in your tub water have evaporated or been filtered out before using for irrigation purposes. Waiting a minimum of 48-72 hours from the time any chemicals were last used is more than sufficient.


9. Create Windbreaks Around Your Hot Tub or Spa
– Cutting wind exposure can greatly reduce heat lose which saves energy and money. Fencing, landscaping and privacy panels, like the image on the right, can all be very effective windbreaks.

Pregnancy – Hot Tub, Spa & Sauna Use

Raising your core body temperature (hyperthermia) can harm your fetus, particularly during the early weeks of organ development. While experts don’t forbid hot tub or sauna use, they do advise caution.

Hyperthermia during the first weeks of fetal development has been linked to neural tube defects. So pregnant women are advised to treat a high fever with acetaminophen and to avoid other causes of hyperthermia.

There is no firmly established temperature or length of exposure that is considered safe during pregnancy. If you use a hot tub or sauna during pregnancy, be conservative. Avoid uncomfortably high temperatures, and limit your exposure.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest sauna use of no more than 15 minutes and hot tub use of no more than 10 minutes. To help keep your body temperature down in a hot tub, sit with your arms and upper torso above the water.

Type 2 Diabetes Hot Tub Therapy

Under the direction of their physicians, many type 2 diabetes patients use their hot tubs for therapy, but is it safe. If you’re a diabetic, chances are high that you’ve heard, read or seen signs posted warning diabetics about hot tub use.

Type 1 diabetes sufferers should absolutely not use hot tubs or hot tub therapy, but what about Type 2 diabetic patients?

A study by the New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study that showed a decrease in glucose level, and an increased overall sense of well-being for Type 2 diabetics that used hot tubs on a regular basis.

Dr. Philip Hooper of Colorado University originally conducted the study to test if hot tub immersion would stimulate exercise in diabetes patients. The test subjects, all with type 2 diabetes, sat in the hot tub for 30 minutes, 6 days a week, for 3 weeks.

At the end of the study, the all patients experienced weight loss and lowered blood sugar levels, and another patient was able to reduce his insulin intake by 18%.

The original intent of the study, to see if increased blood flow would stimulate exercise, also proved promising. Patients previously unable to exercise showing increased mobility. Aside from the medical benefits that the study revealed, Dr. Hooper noticed other benefits to hot tub use for diabetes sufferers – the patients were reporting better sleep and increased sense of well-being.

Dr. Hooper notes that hot tub use for diabetics is a lifestyle change, a positive one for diabetics if it can decrease stress and improve sleep – all factors that are important for type 2 diabetes sufferers.

8 Tips for Type 2 Diabetic Hot Tub Use

1. Talk to your doctor about warm water or hot tub therapy first and foremost

2. Use the hot tub at the end of the day, after the most strenuous activities of the day have been completed.

3. Never hot tub alone!

4. Check your glucose levels before getting into the hot tub. If your levels are spiking or dropping, wait until they become normal.

5. Make sure the water temperature does not exceed 104 degrees. Damaged nerve endings in the feet could cause accidentally burning with higher temperatures.

6. Only use a clean and well balanced spa to prevent risk of bacterial infections.

7. Using a hot tub may cause a drop in blood pressure, so exit the tub very slowly and with assistance. You will not feel the dizziness until you stand up.

8. Use hot tub therapy along with other therapies such as diet and exercise.

Help, My Hair Turned Green!

Every summer we hear about or see people with green streaked hair.  Swimmers seem to suffer the worst, but hot tub and spa owners aren’t far behind.

The general consensus among those affected believe that chlorine in their spa or pool is to blame for their hair turning green as well as their fingernails turning blue and bathing suits turning turquoise.

Chlorine may be partly responsible, but the real culprit is Copper, not Chlorine.

Chlorine after all, is a bleach. When you add laundry bleach to the washing machine, it makes clothes whiter, removes discoloration and stains, and kills organisms – it does not make your clothes green, blue, turquoise or any other color.

Any amount of chlorine in water more than about 15 ppm (parts per million) starts the bleaching process. Although typically a load of laundry in a washing machine has about 600 ppm of chlorine.

If it is copper, where does the copper come from?

Copper can get into the pool or spa a number of different ways. First, drinking water (source or tap water) has a small amount of copper in it already. So each time makeup water is added due to evaporation, a little more copper is added. Since copper does not biodegrade or go away on its own, it builds up.

Second, some algaecides have as their active ingredient copper. The copper in algaecides usually has a special ingredient added to it that prevents it from staining people and vessels. This ingredient is called a chelating agent (pronounced KEY-lating) and copper algaecides that have this ingredient are said to be chelated.

However, sunlight, constant high levels of chlorine or bromine, ozone, super-chlorination and even non-chlorine shock treatments can oxidize the chelating agent. Once this happens, the copper stain protecting ability is decreased.

A third way copper gets into your hot tub, spa or pool is from the equipment.  Water that has a low pH actually dissolves a small portion of the copper metal in components such as copper pipes, heater headers, heater heat sinks, bronze or brass pump parts and even metals used in the filters.

This is called corrosion. This small amount of copper gets dissolved from the equipment or components and then mixes with the main body of water in your pool or spa.

Another way copper gets into the water is by water velocity through copper pipes and fittings. Water that is moving faster than the recommended velocity through a pipe will erode the pipe.

This most often happens when you use a large powerful pump on a system that was designed for a smaller less powerful pump. It can also take place when a solar water heating system is used for a pool or spa.

The last way that copper can get into the water also comes from the equipment, but for a different reason.  It’s fairly common to chlorinate a pool by placing a trichlor tablet, trichloro-s-triazinetrione, into a spa, pool or a spa skimmer.

Pool owners often place bromine tablets in their spa skimmers to brominate their pools as their scooping out leaves and debris. Water flowing over the tablet dissolves a small portion of the tablet and carries it through the equipment and back to the pool or spa. Trichlor tablets have a very low pH of about 2.8 while bromine tablets are about 4.0.

If enough of the tablet dissolves, the pH of the water flowing over the tablet acquires a low pH too. We have seen pHs from 3.0 to 7.0 – all of which can cause metal components to dissolve.

Please note: Some manufacturers have produced special trichlor tablets and sticks that are designed to be placed in the skimmer. These products will not be a problem if used properly.

Pumps in residential pools run about 6-8 hours a day. Spas run 2-3 hours. This means that a pump can be off 16-18 hours a day in a pool and more than 20 hours in a spa. When the equipment is not running, the trichlor or bromine tablet in the skimmer continues to dissolve.

This causes all of the water in the skimmer and even down the pipe below the skimmer to get a really low pH. Then, when the equipment turns on tomorrow, this low pH body of water in the skimmer heads straight for the equipment where it dissolves some of metal.

Copper also gets into the water is by adding chemicals through the skimmer with the pump running. With many chemicals, this is OK. Check and follow manufacturer’s directions for adding chemicals. However, if acid or acidic chemicals are added, the same corrosion occurs.

Copper can get into water on purpose by using an ionizer (sometimes called a copper/silver or copper ionizer). However, it is very important when using these devices that you follow all manufacturer’s directions for use.

Keep the pH in the recommended range (usually a little lower than NSPI recommended levels). Test the water with a copper test kit and adjust the output to maintain the recommended level of copper (usually 0.2 to 0.5 ppm).

Add a sequestering or chelating agent if directed. Ionizers will not cause staining if used properly.  Copper does not biodegrade or break down in the water so it just builds up. Eventually, the water can no longer keep the amount of copper dissolved. This is called the saturation point. The saturation point for copper in most pools and spas is about 0.2 ppm or maybe 0.4 ppm depending on pH and alkalinity.

Higher levels cause stains. You may remember that calcium and magnesium also reach a saturation point in the water. Once copper reaches its saturation point, copper combines with certain other chemicals present in the water and forms a precipitate.

Copper usually combines with sulfates ( ) in the water to make copper sulfate (CuSO4) – a blue-green particle. This copper sulfate then attaches to the walls of the pool or spa and a stain is created. This stain can be on the walls or on people.

Copper and other metals can also combine with hydroxides, carbonates, phosphates, silicates, cyanurates to form any number of stains and precipitates which can be almost any color.

The copper sulfate bluish-green stains show up on kids first because they spend many hours in the water and second, many kids have blond hair when they are young. The green color shows up on blond or white hair better than on brown, black or red hair. The white part of fingernails are next, then cotton, white bathing suits.

To remove the copper or other metals from the water, use a sequestering or chelating product. These are usually called metal inhibitors or metal removal products.

As you can see, it’s really not the chlorine that causes the green hair, it’s the copper. Chlorine gets blamed because the most common suspect is the chlorine tablet in the skimmer.

This caused it, but it’s not the chlorine in the tablet, it’s the low pH.  To remove the stain from hair or fingernails use one of the commercially available “chlorine removing” shampoos or enzyme products.

You also could dilute a metal removal or inhibiting pool or spa chemical with a lot of water, apply to hair, leave on for a few seconds and rinse.  This is not the best approach as these chemicals may damage the hair or get into eyes but, as a last resort and carefully, it could be done. Better to use a product designed for this purpose.

Don’t Blame Chlorine, Blame the Copper!

Hot Tub Folliculitis

What is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles. Each hair on your body grows out of a tiny pouch called a follicle. You can have Folliculitis on any part of your body that has hair. But it is most common on the beard area, arms, back, buttocks, and legs.

What Causes Folliculitis?

It may be caused by bacteria. It also can be caused by yeast or another type of fungus. You may get Folliculitis if you have damaged hair follicles. Shaving or wearing clothes that rub the skin can irritate the follicles, which can lead to Folliculitis.

They also can become blocked or irritated by sweat, machine oils, or makeup. When the follicles are injured, they are more likely to become infected.

You are more likely to get Folliculitis if you:

• Use a hot tub, whirlpool, or swimming pool that is not properly treated with chlorine.
• Wear tight clothes.
• Use or work with substances that can irritate or block the follicles. Examples include makeup, cocoa butter, motor oil, tar, and creosote.
• Have an infected cut, scrape, or surgical wound. The bacteria or fungi can spread to nearby hair follicles.
• Have a disease such as diabetes or HIV that lowers your ability to fight infection.

What are the Symptoms?

Folliculitis usually looks like red pimples with a hair in the center of each one. The pimples may have pus in them, and they may itch or burn. When the pimples break open, they may drain pus, blood, or both.

“Hot Tub Folliculitis” most often appears about 72 hours after you’ve been in a hot tub or spa. Many small pimples appear on your stomach and sometimes on your arms and legs. You might have a mild fever and have an upset stomach. Most of the time, this kind of Folliculitis goes away on its own in 7 to 10 days.

How is Folliculitis Diagnosed?

Your doctor will check your skin and ask about your health and activities. He or she may do tests to find out what is causing your Folliculitis and to make sure you don’t have a different problem, such as impetigo or heat rash. Testing a sample of the fluid in the pimples or a sample of tissue can help your doctor learn what is causing the infection.

How is it Treated?

Mild Folliculitis usually heals on its own in about 2 weeks. You can take care of yourself at home with:

• Warm compresses made with saltwater or Burow’s solution. These may ease itching and help healing. To make a warm compress, soak a hand towel in warm water that you have added salt or Burow’s solution to. Wring out the excess water, and place the towel on the affected skin.

• Medicated shampoo. It can be used to treat Folliculitis on the scalp or beard.

If the inflammation gets worse or doesn’t go away, you may need to see your doctor. He or she may prescribe medicine, such as an antibiotic.

Call your doctor if you have Folliculitis and:

• It spreads or keeps coming back.
• You have a fever over 101°F (38°C).
• The affected area becomes red, swollen, warm or more painful.

If the inflammation doesn’t go away or keeps coming back, laser hair removal may be an option. Laser treatment destroys the hair follicles, so they can’t get inflamed.

How Can You Prevent Folliculitis?

• Bathe or shower daily with mild soap
• Shower after you exercise & after working around chemicals
• Avoid sharing towels, washcloths or other personal items
• Don’t scratch the bumps
• Avoid shaving the bumps. If you must shave, use a new blade each time
• Avoid using oils on your skin. Oils can trap bacteria in skin pores & cause Folliculitis.
• After you use public hot tubs or spas, shower right away with mild soap
• If you own a hot tub, follow proper sanitation to keep it clean

Overlooked Hot Tub Care Tips

Here are some basic, but sometimes overlooked tips on prolonging the life and maximizing your enjoyment of your hot tub or spa.

Following these suggestions will help preserve your tub and equipment while making your water cleaner, safer and more clear.  As an added bonus, it will also save you time and money!

1. Oil and soap based products are public enemy #1 when it comes to keeping your hot tub or spa water crystal clear. Never use regular household cleaners for cleaning the inside or outside of your hot tub or spa.

These products contain soap and/or ammonia which are both harmful and unsettling for your tub’s water chemistry. They can also clog up and prematurely age your spa equipment and you could easily wind up with a giant sized bubble bath if you don’t get all of the soap out of your spa’s water system.

2. Swim trunks and bathing suits are also a common cause of foamy and unappealing hot tub and spa water.

Small amounts of laundry detergent remain in bathing suits after they have been washed and dried and the residual detergent ends up back in your hot tub’s water supply.

An easy fix for this issue is to simply run an extra rinse cycle when you wash your swimwear or you can always just re-rinse your swimwear by hand.

3. This is a good one that most hot tub and spa owners aren’t aware of. When your hot tub or spa is not in use, keep the Air Control Valves closed.   The image below shows air control valves from some of the most popular and well known spa manufacturers.

These valves or dials are usually located on top of or near the top of your spa and they allow air to mix with the water coming out of your jets.

This is great when your spa is in use, but not so great when it’s not.  To image on the right shows

Besides letting cold air into the spa water and increasing heating costs, it can also introduce air borne debris and algae spores that can cloud your water and increases your chemical usage.

4. Personal hygiene products should be used in the shower and not in your spa or hot tub. Even though this is common knowledge, it’s amazing how many soakers seem to forget this basic rule.

Hair spray, hair mousse, styling gels, deodorant, anti-perspiration, sun tan lotion, excess sweat, make-up and skin creams of any sort will cloud your water and clog your filter, reducing its life and increasing your maintenance time.

 

 

5. Floating oil-absorbing sponges such as the Dirty Duck are fantastic at reducing the amount of clogging oils that are sent through your filter.

Remember to squeeze them out occasionally and to replace them when they start to deteriorate or when they no longer float.

 

 

6. Make sure your filter cartridge is fully seated in the filter compartment. This ensures 100% of the water passing through the filter, rather than bypassing it. Remember to clean the cartridge once a month for maximum longevity and to replace it every 1 to 2 years.

The fibers of the cartridge start to break down and deteriorate after a while and won’t do an adequate job of filtration after a while. It’s a not a bad idea to have two filter cartridges on hand for your spa and use them on an alternating basis.

This way, while one is being cleaned by soaking in a “Filter Cleaner” solution, the other one can be used in your spa to reduce the down time of your spa.

 

7. Make sure to test your spa water at least once per week and always after adding new water. Make sure that the pH and TOTAL ALKALINITY is within the proper ranges.

This is MOST important. Either adjust the pH and Alkalinity manually each week, or use “pH Balance”.

If you’re using a liquid test kit be sure to clean it after every use, keep the solutions out of the sun and to replace them ever year.

Also, always get your sample water from at least 12 inches below the surface. If you’re using test strips be sure to replace them if they are 6 months past the expiration date.

8. One quick and easy way to vacuum debris from the bottom of your spa is to simply use a garden hose and siphon it out.

9. If you have an in-ground spa you know you should never drain the water if it’s rained in the last few weeks, or if the ground is wet (if you didn’t know this, glad you’re here). If you do it’s very possible that the spa will float out of the ground.

But if you find yourself in that position and you need to change the water here’s a neat little trick. Drop a sump pump in the bottom of the spa and spread a large sheet of plastic over the top of the water.

As the sump pump removes the water, run water from a garden hose on top of the plastic. If the hose and pump are running at the same speed the water level won’t drop and the old and new water wont mix.