Soaking in a hot tub provides unmatchable healing benefits for multiple reasons. It eases stress and achy muscles and can even improve your circulation. And it’s lots of fun to do in the winter if you have access to one!
However, you could get sick if you don’t take the right steps to maintain your spa. Worse, you or someone you love could get injured. Here are six hot tub health and safety tips to let you enjoy a worry-free soak that melts away your tension.
1. Test Your Waters
The water in your hot tub doesn’t swirl away down the drain the way your used bathwater does. Since you reuse it repeatedly, you need to maintain the correct chemical balance to prevent the growth of hazardous bacteria like pseudomonas and legionella. The latter germ can cause Legionnaires disease, a potentially fatal condition.
How do you keep these bad boy bacteria at bay? Chlorine has been used to treat public water supplies for over 100 years and has proven reliable for safe, broad-spectrum disinfection. Your hot tub will likely come with a startup supply, but it’s your responsibility to maintain the correct level. This substance comes in powder and tablet form, and your precise formulation will depend on the type of tub you have.
Another frequently used disinfectant is bromine. These tablets generally float in a feeder that you can use in nearly any spa. This chemical is more stable than chlorine in warm water, making it a popular hot tub choice.
2. Watch For Signs Of Trouble
Test strips are an indispensable part of hot tub ownership. However, what happens when you use a spa at a public facility, such as a gym or hotel? How can you tell the water is safe for a dip?
Cloudy and foamy water can occur when lotions, soaps and natural body oils from people’s skin build up in the tub, upsetting the chemical balance. It can also come from leaves and grass that blow into uncovered outdoor facilities. Whatever the cause, it indicates a chemical imbalance you must address before going for a dip. If this happens at home, you can shock your tub. At public locations, you’ll have to alert the property manager to the situation.
What if the water looks cloudy? You can test if it’s safe to soak by tossing a penny to the bottom. If you can read whether the coin is heads or tails when it lands, you’re safe — otherwise, you need to take corrective action.
3. Maintain Optimal Temperature
The purpose of a hot tub is to get hot — but how much heat is too much? Think about your natural body temperature of 98.6 degrees as a comfort baseline. You want your water warmer than that, or else you might feel uncomfortably chilled.
Many experts recommend setting your hot tub temperature between 100 and 102 F. This range is cozy enough to relax muscles and ease away tension without making you feel uncomfortable. The maximum temperature you should set is 104 F. Any higher, and you could incur health risks from excessive heat.
4. Shower Or Bathe Before Entering
If you have an indoor hot tub, your primary water contaminants come from the natural oils, soaps and lotions most people have on their skin. Showering or bathing before you climb in for a soak can reduce microbial levels, making it easier for you to keep your chemical balance in check.
If you have an outdoor tub, check if the facility offers a shower. Many public health clubs request that their members shower before soaking — following the rules helps keep the spa sanitary for everyone.
5. Check Your Drain Covers
You might not think about danger from below, especially if you’re a strong swimmer. However, broken or ill-fitting drain covers can pose a severe health risk that you shouldn’t ignore — especially if you have children.
Even adults can get their hair entangled in the drain, posing a drowning risk. A new law passed in 2008 requiring all public pools and spas to install anti-entanglement drain covers, but you are responsible for caring for your home model.
6. Know When To Say No
As glorious as it is to soak, there’s also a time to say no. One occurs when you’re pregnant. Although you may use a hot tub with a baby on board, you should limit your exposure to less than 10 minutes at a time. It’s best to avoid them altogether during the earliest stages to avoid potential harm to the fetus from the heat.
Another time to gently demur is when you have had one too many. It’s tempting to double down on your relaxation. However, combining heat with alcohol can make you feel dizzy, leading to falls and even drowning.
Hot Tub Health And Safety Tips
Few things rival the luxurious sensation of soaking in a heated spa. Follow these hot tub health and safety tips to maximize your fun.