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Hot Tub Rash


Hot Tub Rash is an inflammation of the skin that causes an infection of the hair follicles, so it is also a form of folliculitis. Hot Tub Rash is also known as Recreational Water Illness, because it is most likely to appear after a person has spent time in the waters of a recreational water park or facility.


What is Hot Tub Rash?


Hot Tub Rash is a red, itchy rash that frequently shows up on the skin of people who have spent time in recreational waters such as lakes, water parks, hot tubs or pools. It is the result of being exposed to a germ that goes by the name Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The germ is common, and though it is easily controlled through the use of disinfectants such as chlorine, if a pool or hot tub is not properly cleaned the germ will flourish and affect those who come into extended contact with it. It is extremely common in those who have spent time sitting in a hot tub, because the hot water found in hot tubs shortens the impact of antibacterial treatments that may have been applied, and the warm water found in the hot tub environment makes the germs multiply rapidly. It is also more common in this environment because people tend to spend long periods of time in hot tubs, increasing the opportunity for the germ to infiltrate the open pores in the skin. Similarly, children are more likely to be exposed to the germ in swimming pools and water parks because they tend to spend far more time in the water than adults do.






Symptoms


Hot Tub Rash tends to appear pretty quickly after having spent time in a pool or hot tub, and usually manifests itself within two or three days. The rash begins in the form of an itchy, bumpy raised rash with small red bumps, but it quickly progresses to larger, darker bright red bumps that are more pronounced, and these bumps eventually become filled with pus as the bacteria and infection progresses. Folliculitis can appear in any area of the skin that has been exposed to the contaminated water, but it is more likely to show up in areas that were under a bathing suit, which would keep the contaminated water closer to the skin for longer than areas that would have dried faster and not been exposed for as long. In hot tubs, people often find that their faces are unaffected because they do not submerge in a hot tub, but the rest of the body is extremely vulnerable to the rash.








Treatment


In most cases, Hot Tub Rash will go away on its own after a week or two, although the spots where the rash formed large pustules may be discolored for a period of several months. If you have a bad case of Hot Tub Rash and the itching is particularly bad, there are a couple of over the counter treatments available, as well as at home remedies. Many people simply take anti-itch remedies such as Benadryl to alleviate the itching. Although this will alleviate the discomfort, it will do little to eliminate the rash itself. Hydrocortisone creams can speed healing, but in the case of particularly uncomfortable cases, it may be best to contact your physician, who can write a prescription for a dose of antibiotics that can be taken orally. They may also prescribe a prescription strength cream that is called Silvadene. Silvadene is a sulfa drug that is particularly effective at killing a wide range of infections. It is applied twice a day until the symptoms of the infection have disappeared entirely.








Ways to Prevent Hot Tub Rash


Unfortunately, the bacteria that causes Hot Tub Rash is not visible to the human eye, so it is impossible to determine whether a pool has been infiltrated by the germ before getting in. If you are the owner of the hot tub or pool, you can take all of the appropriate precautions needed to make sure that the facility has been properly cleaned; this would include making sure that your recreational water facility or feature has a properly operating filtration system, making sure that you are monitoring the bacteria levels in the water frequently enough, and changing the water often so that the risk of infection decreases. If you are in an environment where you are uncertain as to how carefully the facility has been cleaned, it is advisable that you either ask about the maintenance schedule or choose to stay out of the water entirely, particularly if you have had Hot Tub Rash previously. If you are not willing to stay out of the water, limit the amount of time that you stay in, and make sure that you shower with soap and get out of your bathing suit immediately after getting out of the water.


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