As with many things, hot tubs can be either good or bad for you. It all depends on the hot tub, your health, and how long you plan to soak. Let's dig into the facts.
A hot tub can be either a nice place to relax and soak up some health benefits - or it can be a cesspool of danger. There are two primary dangers of using a hot tub - public use and prolonged use. In the case of using a public hot tub, there is the danger of not only germs from other people contaminating the water and seats (for example, the virus that causes genital herpes can thrive on some of the plastic seats for hours), but also of bacteria that may be found in the public water supply. These bacteria, such as Nontuberculous mycobacteria, Pseudomonas, and Legionella can get caught up in the mist produced by turning on the jets, causing inhalation and leading to problems such as fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss (N. mycobacteria), infections of the eye, ears, and skin (Pseudomonas), and Legionnaire's disease (Legionella).
Prolonged use of a hot tub can bring about dehydration and deplete the body's electrolyte levels. Also, as the body is unable to cool itself while immersed in hot water, sitting in a hot tub for a long period of time can overtax the heart. It is for this reason that people with heart conditions are recommended to stay out of the hot tub or strictly limit their time in one.
Another possible danger of using a hot tub is the disinfectants - chlorine and/or bromine. Increased levels of either of these chemicals can lead to respiratory problems.
Assuming a 10-30 minute soak in a properly cleaned, germ-free hot tub with normal levels of chlorine/bromine, there are several benefits to be had by most people. One benefit is that a hot tub induces a decrease in blood pressure, which can be beneficial to the heart, provided you aren't in the tub so long that your body begins to become overheated (like talked about above). Yet another benefit of the hot water is that it can act as a temporary pain reliever. In addition to the sedating effects of the hot water, the jet streams act as a massage. Furthermore, studies have shown hot tubs to be beneficial to people with diabetes and arthritis.
Possible short-term side effects
- bacterial/viral infection
- deplete electrolyte levels
- overtax the heart
Ingredients to be aware of
- helps relieve pain
- decreases blood pressure
- induces muscle relaxation
- decrease stress
- may be beneficial for those with diabetes
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Written by Jeff Volling | 01-05-2016
Written by Jeff Volling
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