Hot Tub Rash - Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Hot Tub Rash

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What is hot tub rash?

Hot tub rash or hot tub dermatitis/folliculitis is a skin infection caused by germ Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is commonly found in water and soil. It also spreads if chlorine, bromine and pH levels of hot tub or spa are not maintained at optimum level. Unhygienic conditions and poor maintenance of hot tub are also responsible for causing hot tub rash. Sometimes irritation from soap and washes can also cause rash.

Mostly hot tub rash occur when person comes in contact with contaminated water for a long period of time. High temperatures in hot tubs and spas cause chlorine and other disinfectants to break down. The rash occurs only after few days of contact with contaminated water in hot tub or spa. People of all age group can develop hot tub rash.

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Rash go away within few days without the need for any medical treatment. However, if rashes do not clear up in few days then it becomes important to seek medical care. Rash clears off without causing scars. Hot tub rash is not contagious but can spread if the person shares razor, clothes and hot tub of the person already having hot tub rash.

Symptoms of hot tub rash

The symptoms of hot tub rash become visible only after few hours of contact with contaminated hot tub and spa. This period may vary from several hours to 3 days. Following are the common symptoms of hot tub rash:

  • Red rash all over the skin area exposed to hot tub water
  • Red, itchy skin
  • Itchy spots on skin which eventually become bumpy red rash
  • Pus-filled blisters
  • Rash look like acne having tender nodules
  • Rash are more noticeable and are dark in the area covered by the swimsuit. This is because body parts covered with swimsuit will hold water against the body for longer time period.

The symptoms of hot tub rash may come back if you use the hot tub again especially if it is not cleaned. In rare case, hot tub rash can lead to complications such as Abscess formation and a feeling of discomfort. Sometimes red bumps get enlarged to form cyst which need surgical treatment to drain it off.

Diagnosis and treatment

Hot tub rash can easily be diagnosed with their appearance and knowing the fact that you have recently been into a hot tub. There are no tests to diagnose the hot tub rash.

Usually treatment is not required in mild form of hot tub rash. Medical care becomes necessary if rash persist for prolonged time and do not seem to clear up on their own. Physicians would prescribe anti-itch medicines to relieve discomfort and heal rash. In severe case, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic like ciprofloxacin.

How to prevent yourself of rash from hot tub

Since Pseudomonas aeruginosa are most commonly found in hot tubs or spa, water slides and other such places, there is a greater chance of developing hot tub rash among swimmers.

Hot tub rash can be prevented by following some of the following simple steps:

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  • Wear clean swimsuit when going for a swim and clean it after you finish swimming.
  • Make sure you take shower with soap after coming out of the water.
  • See that the disinfectants and pH levels of the hot tub or spa are maintained at optimum level.  Disinfectant and pH level check should be conducted twice a day.
  • You can choose to have check for sufficient disinfectant levels in pool or hot tub with the help of pool test strips.
  • Filtration and recirculation systems should function properly so that water is healthy in the tub.
  • Clean surface of the tub regularly to remove slime layer, if any.
  • If it is hot tub spa, then prefer treating it with biocidal shock treatment on a regular basis.
  • If the hot tub is not in use, cover it so that debris doesn’t enter into it and disinfectant level is maintained.
  • Pregnant women should see a doctor prior to using hot tub, spa or swimming pools.

Points to remember

  • Skin infection (hot tub rash) is caused from tub or pool water contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
  • Hot tub rash do not require any medical treatment unless they do not heal up for longer time. If rash tend to worsen or persist for long, see your doctor.
  • Either cover the hot tub and spa or empty the tub if not in use. Disinfect the hot tub or spa on a regular basis.
  • Maintaining the acid and chlorine level in the water will restrict the growth of hot tub rash causing agent- Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
  • Make a point to take a shower before and after entering into the tub. Clean the swimsuit every time you get out of the swimming pool or tub.

 Hot Tub Rash Pictures


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Comments (3)

  1. We were recently exposed to hot tub rash and have red bumps all over; however we also have experienced red huge bumbs under the armpit area that is causing severe pain.

    Can you please assist and shedding some light on this condition of the infected arm pit area.

    Thank you


  2. I have been getting a rash when I get in the hot tub after menopause. I have tried all kinds of alternative options like lotions before getting in and I still break out. Do you think it is a result of skin changes during menopause

  3. Myself and my dad has got this hot tub rash and it’s very itchy and most of mine now look like white heads and very red round them? How do I know they are infected or am I making it worse by putting germolene on it? And they are spreading fast all over my body??

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