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Hot Tubs & STD's

Many couples have asked us about std's in hot tubs or jacuzzis.

Most swing clubs do not have hot tubs because of the high maintenance costs and difficulty in maintaining the correct levels of heat, chlorine and minerals to kill most std's. Many hotels and some swing clubs prefer jacuzzis, as they are much safer and lower on maintenance than a hot tub.

There are many myths about catching std's in hot tubs, but the risks of catching std's in a sexually active hot tub are very high, especially if the temperature drops below 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the hot tub does not have the correct levels of chlorine and minerals. Many hotels have stopped installing hot tubs because of the high maintenance costs and difficulty in maintaining the correct levels of chlorine and minerals. Here are some of the reasons that Hotels are getting out of the hot tub business.

If you catch infections easily or you think you might be pregnant, it is very important that you avoid pools and hot tubs.

Pseudomonas Dermatitis/Folliculitis
Associated With Pools and Hot Tubs Colorado and Maine, 1999-2000

Many std's are passed from sexual contact or bodily fluids or shedding. Some std's such as herpes can live for two hours outside the body. Any secretions from the body increase the risk of contracting an std. Indoor hot tubs have also been linked to different lung infections.

Only get into a hot tub if you know the couples intimately and you trust the cleanliness and maintenance of the hot tub. You should never use a hot tub if you think you are pregnant, have any skin sores, skin irritations, open cuts or wounds, bruises or blood on the surface of your skin. Always shower before and after going into a hot tub. Many people use oils or colognes on their body not to mention getting very hot and sweaty on the dance floor of swing clubs.

If you think you are pregnant or your skin is very sensitive or you catch yeast infections very easily, never use a hot tub with strangers.

Hot tubs must be very clean and hot! Never use a hot tub if it looks dirty or has rings or dirty foam around the tub. Use a towel on the edge of the tub to prevent any risk of contracting herpes. Never share your towel.

STD's are best transmitted by sexual intercourse and friction. If you are having sexual intercourse in a hot tub, your risks are greatly increased of catching any std in the water from any bodily secretion! Women must be especially careful in contracting Vulvitus or Trichomoniasis from a hot tub. What is Vulvitus? What is Trichomoniasis?

We have put some articles below that might also interest you about hot tubs.
There are approximately 23 std's that can be contracted from hot tubs if not maintained properly! If hot tubs are maintained properly the risks of contracting an std are rare, but the risk is still there. Clean tubs will have no film or foam scum on the surface and a temperature gauge showing water temperature above 85 degrees F. is extremely important. Outdoor hot tubs are also much healthier against contracting lung infections.

Hot tub disinfectant levels must be monitored closely because the higher temperatures maintained to kill std's also serve to dissipate chlorine rapidly which invite other infections. Temperature levels and all chemical levels must be monitored on an hourly basis or better. The higher number of bathers requires more frequent testing.

Tips for preventing spread of disease in hot tubs available online.
A new report available on the Internet from HC Information Resources, details how to avoid illnesses associated with hot tubs and whirlpools. "Spas, Hot Tubs, and Whirlpool Bathtubs: A Guide for Disease Prevention" outlines the many diseases that spas can be responsible for, including skin rashes and Legionnaires’ disease, as well as a list of preventive measures. For more information, or to obtain a copy of the report, call (760) 451-1050.

Whirlpool Hot Tubs May be Romantic but Beware of the Sea Monsters
A recent report in JAMA describes several cases of external ear infection and dermatitis related to hot tub use. The dermatitis is characterized by a pustular red rash on the hips, buttocks, armpits, and legs and has been identified as one caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Over the last 20 years many similar cases have been identified, particularly when insufficient chlorination or improper PH has been noted at the hot tub. Many types of respiratory illnesses, including Pontiac Fever, Legionnaires disease pneumonia, and even other more serious pneumonias are attributable to hot tub transmission. Pontiac fever is a flu-like illness with fever and chills, caused by the same organism that causes Legionnaires disease. Australian boys "whale-spitting" each other with spa water wound up with cases of hepatitis A. Pregnant women also appear to be at special risk from hot tub pathogens and heat. Of course, drowning is a well known risk when drugs and alcohol are involved. So enjoy the hot water, but keep the chlorine up.

Hot tubs, too, have sometimes been rumored to be a source of STDs. But the chlorine and mineral salts used in these tubs are generally deadly to STD microbes. As an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association once put it, the question of whether you can get an STD from a hot tub depends entirely on what you're doing in the tub.

People must ensure that proper chlorine and mineral levels are maintained at all times and the temperature never drops below 85 degrees Fahrenheit! Avoid using hot tubs in early pregnancy!

Can HIV be transmitted in swimming pools or hot tubs?
There are no cases of HIV transmission through swimming pools or hot tubs.
The virus is killed by the normal levels or chlorine used to disinfect public swimming pools, saunas or hot tubs. The chlorine levels are very important.

Is having sex in a hot shower or hot tub safe?
Someone told me that the heat kills the sperm, and my girlfriend cannot get pregnant. I know it sounds crazy, but that's what I've heard. -Wet & Wild,

Dear Wet & Wild, I do not recommend using a hot tub or shower as a form of birth control. It does not kill the sperm, but I can see how and where this rumor got started. The scrotum is the pouch that contains a pair of testes, functioning to maintain the testes at a temperature approximately 5 degrees lower than the rest of the body. The process of sperm production is extremely heat sensitive. In hot temperatures, the muscles in the scrotum relax, and the testes move away from the heat of the body. In cold temperatures, the muscles of the scrotum contract, where they can maintain their 5-degree temperature difference.

The heat in a hot tub or shower can indeed interfere with normal sperm production. Not sufficiently enough, however, that all sperm will die -- in most cases, the number of live sperm is merely reduced but there are still enough to get a woman pregnant. Also, it is very risky and there is no guarantee that this will always occur. Men with fertility problems are usually told to avoid hot tubs, saunas and the like, but this is because they don't want anything interfering with their sperm production as it is already being compromised. I strongly urge you to use condoms, even when in the hot tub or shower, and be sure to correct whomever told you this false information.

D. Zimmer

Hot-Tub–Associated Mycobacterial Infections in Immunosuppressed Persons
Read original article, http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no6/mangione.htm

To the Editor: I read with interest the report by Mangione et al. regarding Mycobacterium avium infection in a Colorado family who used an inadequately sanitized hot tub (1). The authors noted that the source of the M. avium complex was not clear, although the reservoir did appear to have been the hot tub.

Twenty years ago, I helped treat a patient with a local infection caused by M. fortuitum in his amputation stump (2). The patient had sat in his tub post operatively three to four times per week. Although he had added disinfectants as recommended by the manufacturer, he had not cleaned the tub mechanically at any time during the incubation period of his infection. We recovered what appeared to be the same strain of M. fortuitum from the abscess on his amputation stump and specimens from the hot tub water and filter. However, we could not recover any mycobacteria from his or his neighbor's tap water.

Three years after our experience with this patient, M. chelonei was found to cause colonization of sputum of patients with cystic fibrosis after they had been treated in a hydrotherapy pool. Very recently, an outbreak of 110 cases of furunculosis was attributed to M. fortuitum contamination of a foot bath at a nail salon.

These experiences indicate the absolute need for careful cleaning of hot tubs. Not only are immunosuppressed patients at risk for atypical mycobacterial infections but even otherwise healthy persons may be susceptible.


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