Q: What type of skin infections can you get from sitting in a hot tub? For example, can jock itch (tinea cruris) be spread to others in a hot tub?
A: The warm, moist environment of a hot tub is relaxing but can also be inviting to certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Bacteria such as mycobacteria, E. coli, and pseudomonas aeruginosa can live in the slime found on wet surfaces and in pipes. They can all cause infection.
"Hot tub folliculitis" is caused by bacteria, such as pseudomonas, that can live in hot tubs. Infection of the hair follicles results in red, itchy bumps or pustules. These may go away on their own without treatment, or a doctor may need to write a prescription for medicine.
In addition to skin problems, hot tubs can be the source of a lung infection. The bubbling water creates aerosols that could contain bacteria or other germs, which can then be inhaled. Fortunately, lung infections related to hot tube use are rare.
Direct contact with infected people in the hot tub can lead to bacterial infections, fungal infections—including tinea cruris—and herpes virus infections.
Genital herpes, most often caused by HSV-2, is transmitted by sexual contact. HSV-1, which causes the common fever-blisters is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact. The herpes virus by itself may not survive long in hot tub water. Direct contact with infected skin or genitals in the hot tub, however, can result in infection, just as it can outside the hot tub.
It's important to drain and clean the tub after use and to maintain proper chlorine and pH levels. Pipes and filters should be disinfected. Everyone should shower before entering a hot tub.
If you have a rash or respiratory problems, or suspect you have infection, make an appointment with your doctor.
Find More on MSN Health & Fitness:
- Combating MRSA: The Drug-Resistant 'Superbug'
- Do-It-Yourself Spa Tricks for the Tub
- Search: Health and Hot Tubs
be well, feel better
Discussing the habits and activities of happy people with a medical expert.
Feeling like you're in a fog? Your brain drain could be due to the meds you take, the foods you eat, or even the germs you've been exposed to.
Increase your activity without sacrificing productivity
Exercise your body and mind, eat well, and stay socially active, a new report recommends
Getting busy can improve your health. Just another reason to slip between the sheets.
Is the rumbling in your belly for real, or are you bored, stressed, or just eating out of habit? Learn to decode the types of hunger so you can reach your weight loss goals.
When it comes to eating right, working out, and living your healthiest, some long-standing tenets may no longer be taken for gospel. Here, a look at some surprising new thinking against traditional wisdom.
Start your weight loss journey aware of these common flubs, and you'll be on your way to fat-loss in no time.