Soaking in a hot tub can be incredibly beneficial for your health– but not always! Hot tubs can pose some serious health risks to bathers. This is why hot tub owners need to be knowledgeable when it comes to different aspects of hot tub safety.
Increasing your awareness of hot tub safety is the first step to help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for you and your guests. This article covers all important components of hot tub safety that you need to be aware of when owning and operating a spa, along with some FAQs.
Components of Hot Tub Safety
If not properly maintained, hot tubs can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Too much bacteria increases the risk of infection and disease transmission for bathers. Bathing in an unsanitary hot tub could put you at risk for skin rashes, swimmer’s ear, upset stomach and diarrhea, pneumonia, and in severe cases, lung disease.
As a hot tub owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure hot tub cleanliness. This involves regularly checking chemical levels in your hot tub and topping up disinfectants to keep bacteria at bay. This is particularly important if your hot tub is used infrequently, or conversely, is being used more than normal. Chemical levels will naturally fall over time, but the more use your hot tub gets, the faster the disinfectant gets used up!
Here are some safety tips for maintaining hot tub cleanliness:
- Check pH and chlorine or bromine levels before and after use. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a pH of 7.2-7.8 and a chlorine concentration of 3ppm for hot tubs.
- Drain and scrub your hot tub and spa cover with bleach solution. We recommend using diluted bleach or another hot tub cleaner to scrub down your spa every couple of months to prevent scum and mildew build-up in your hot tub.
- Shower with soap and water before using the hot tub. Showing before using the hot tub reduces the number of bacteria and body oils entering the hot tub which helps it stay cleaner longer.
- Only wear swimwear in the hot tub. Wearing outdoor clothes can bring unwanted bacteria and debris into the spa. It’s best to stick to clean swimwear when using your hot tub.
- Never enter the hot tub if the water is cloudy or foamy. Foam and cloudiness indicate the presence of bacteria which can cause skin irritation. When this occurs, add more disinfectant to your spa and wait 24hrs until the water is clean and clear once again.
- Clean your filters. Watch this video for more information!
Prolonged time at high temperatures can bring on a number of heat-related illnesses like nausea, dizziness and light-headedness, fainting, and heatstroke. It’s best to keep your hot tub below 40°C (104°F) and your soaking time between 10-15 minutes to avoid any heat-related illness. Pregnant women and children under the age of 7 are at greater risk of overheating so the recommended temperature for these individuals is 35°C-38.9°C.
It’s important to be aware that hot tubs can pose a greater risk to pregnant women and individuals with certain medical conditions. For example, people with heart disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, and other illnesses should take necessary safety precautions if they choose to use a hot tub.
We strongly advise that these individuals speak to their doctor before using a hot tub to ensure that they understand the risks associated with their health condition. Furthermore, some medications may cause drowsiness or impairment. Always ask your guests about medication use before inviting them to use your hot tub.
Finally, dehydration is also a concern for hot tub users. Staying hydrated while using a hot tub is important because it helps the body regulate its internal temperature and prevents hyperthermia (over-heating.) Drinking alcohol can also dehydrate you so it’s best to avoid it when using your hot tub.
There are numerous physical hazards to be aware of when using a hot tub. It’s important to take the necessary safety precautions to reduce or eliminate the risk of the following:
Water and electricity do not mix. Keep all electrical appliances and power cords away from the hot tub to prevent electrocution.
Lightning storms can also pose a risk for electrocution. Soaking in light rain is fine, but avoid using your hot tub in severe weather conditions. It’s extremely unsafe to be in any body of water, let alone one with electric wiring.
Cuts and Wounds
Avoid having glass anywhere near the hot tub. Broken glass can easily injure guests and can be very damaging to the interior mechanics of your hot tub. Even if you don’t have any glass nearby, you should always keep a first aid kit on hand in case of emergencies.
Falls and Slips
Be mindful of the slipping hazards posed by different flooring choices around your hot tub as some surfaces, like wooden decks, become very slippery when wet. Install non-slip mats to help prevent falls and handrails to reduce the risk of slipping and injuring yourself while entering and exiting the hot tub. When kids are around the hot tub, remind them to walk, not run.
Additionally, if you plan on using your hot tub at night, you should consider installing sufficient lighting to prevent tripping over obstacles in the dark.
Although hot tubs are fairly shallow, they still pose a risk of drowning. The main reason is that you can get trapped underwater by the suction from an outlet opening. Be sure to install a screen over outlet openings and avoid submerging your head underwater. Always have someone nearby who knows where the power switch for the pumps is located in event of an emergency.
Safe Installation Space
If you choose to have your hot tub installed inside, it’s important to ensure proper ventilation. Lack of ventilation can lead to problems like mould, mildew, and water damage from condensation. In some cases, inadequate ventilation can lead to health issues, like ‘hot tub lung.’
Now that we’ve covered the basics of hot tub safety, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions.
FAQ About Hot Tub Safety
Are Hot Tubs Safe for Pregnant Women?
Soaking in hot tubs should be avoided during pregnancy because pregnant women are at a greater risk of overheating. Hyperthermia can be harmful to the fetus and may result in birth defects. For this reason, it’s advised that pregnant women take the following precautions if they choose to use a hot tub:
- Talk to their primary healthcare provider about the risks of spa use
- Only use hot tubs when the temperature is 38.9°C or below
- Don’t soak for more than 10 minutes at a time
- If possible, don’t submerge the upper body completely. Sit with arms and chest above the waterline.
- Don’t use the hot tub alone
- Leave the hot tub immediately if experiencing the following symptoms: dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, stomach pain, or tingling in the extremities.
Can Children Use Hot Tubs?
Children under 7 don’t regulate body temperature as well as adults which means they are at a greater risk of overheating. It’s recommended that younger children do not spend more than 5-10 minutes in the hot tub at a time and that the temperature is below 35°C.
Because hot tubs pose a risk for drowning, always supervise children in the hot tub and make sure that they understand the safety rules. Advise kids to stay away from the drain so that their hair, bathing suit, or jewelry does not get caught.
At What Age is it Safe to Use a Hot Tub?
Hot tubs are generally considered safe for children over the age of 5. Additionally, some seniors should avoid hot tubs if they have health concerns or illnesses that could pose a serious risk if their body temperature is elevated.
Is it Okay to Drink Alcohol in the Hot Tub?
Alcohol should be avoided when soaking in the spa for several reasons. Firstly, the warm environment increases blood circulation which can heighten the feeling of inebriation and impair judgement. Furthermore, drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, which impairs your body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature- not a good combination!
Another reason is that there’s a risk of drink spillage, or worse, breaking a glass. Broken glass can pose a physical hazard to bathers and both occurrences can damage the hot tub mechanics.
Hot Tub Safety with Jacuzzi Surrey
Owning a hot tub can be rewarding, but safety should always come first! Before settling in for a nice soak, be sure to take the necessary precautions so that you can truly relax knowing that your spa is safe and secure. Have questions about hot tub safety? Our knowledgeable staff at Jacuzzi Hot Tubs and Backyard Living of Surrey are happy to help! Give us a call or drop by one of our three showrooms today to speak to one of our experts.