As inviting and innocuous-looking as your Jacuzzi or hot tub may seem, using it for therapeutic purposes will require more precaution than you probably expect. The first rule is: if there are potentially bothersome health issues, talk to your doctor. There are bodily conditions that warrant some amount of prudence.
Most doctors will probably agree that it isn’t advisable for pregnant women to take too hot a bath. Who knows what injury the unborn baby may sustain if the mother’s body has gotten too warm? Pathogens in the water pose an added danger. Forgoing the delights of a hot tub until after giving birth and healing is a wise option many pregnant women take.
Be careful if you are taking anticoagulants. These blood-thinning drugs can make you vulnerable under extreme temperature. They may combine with the heat of the tub to cause fainting, dizziness or nausea. If the doctor gave you the go-signal to immerse yourself in the water, follow the prescribed duration and temperature, and if you feel anything undesirable or out of the ordinary, get out of the tub as soon as you can. Do it slowly, carefully. Take a cool shower, taking care that the water you shower with is not cold, and drink some more water.
High Blood Pressure
The relaxation brought about by a hot tub bath will be quite beneficial if you are suffering from high blood pressure. But beware of unwanted reactions if you are taking hypertensive mediations. Again, check with your physician first before taking that dip.
Imbibing alcohol while in the hot tub is like driving under the influence. When combined with the heat of the water, the dehydrating and blood-thinning effect of the alcohol may cause you to become weak or dizzy. You may also get sleepy and doze off until you slip under the water. Avoid taking over-the-counter drugs known to have the side effect of drowsiness. These would include cold, sinus and cough medications. Needless to say, you are in even greater danger if you are using illicit chemicals.
Exceeding Time Limits
There’s a limit to how long you, or anyone for that matter, should stay in a steaming tub. No more than twenty minutes inside is a good guideline. Conversing can make some people stay in the water more than is necessary. Getting overheated or dehydrated can be the result.
Beware of the following conditions that may result from a poorly sanitized tub water, already made conducive to bacterial growth by the warm temperature in the first place:
- “Hot tub” folliculitis, or pseudomonas folliculitis, an infection characterized by reddening and pus-filled blisters, and requiring medical attention.
- The even more serious and potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia that is transmitted through water spray when breathed in.
- Infections of the upper respiratory tract and the middle ear caused by bobbing of the head in and out of water.
Besides being a great way to relax, hot tubs offer therapeutic effects, when done the proper way, which is, with safety in mind. There are times when it should be altogether avoided, even under professional supervision. Otherwise certain precautions should be put into place. Hot tub or spa owners, take heed!