Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can hot tubs cause rashes?"
Ever since my husband and I bought our new hot tub, I've been using it fanatically. It's great! The only problem is that I've been getting an itchy rash on my legs. Could this be related to my hot tub usage?
Depending on their complexity and severity, rashes can be treated by your primary care physician. If he or she wishes, they may refer you to a dermatologist if the rash is needs a specialists attention. The quick answer to your question is yes, hot tubs can cause rashes. Let me explain below. Hot tubs can be fun, but they can also be breading grounds for bacteria. While the use of chlorine or bromine sanitizing agents helps keep the growth of bacteria under control, they aren't perfect and often certain bacteria survive the chemicals, especially if they aren't at optimal levels. The organism that is most often the culprit is pseudomonas aeruginosa, a nasty bacterium that lives in hot tubs. It can dig its way into your hair follicles and cause an itchy, acne like rash on the legs, trunk, or anywhere else exposed. These rashes are treatable, but to prevent them you will likely have to be more aggressive about keeping the sanitizing chemicals in your tub at an optimal. A more serious effect of these bacteria in hot tubs over the long term is restrictive lung disease, which while rare, is a possible effect of bathing for a long time in infected tubs. Make sure to see you primary care physician or a dermatologist soon to get your rash diagnosed. Afterwards, you'll know how much for fun you can have in your tub. Good luck.
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