Hot Tub Health Concerns & Benefits: The Importance of Proper Spa Sanitation

hot tub

Soaking in a hot tub provides far more benefits than just recreational relaxation. When maintained with care, it can be a positive addition to your health and wellness regime. Some of the therapeutic benefits of regular hot tub usage can include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Reduced arthritis pain
  • Healthier, younger-looking skin
  • Decreased frequency of headaches

Potential Hot Tub Health Risks

While owning a hot tub can provide many amazing benefits, you still need to exercise proper caution and conduct regular maintenance. Using chemicals to keep your hot tub functioning well is important not only to protect your investment, but to keep the water safe for the people in it. Preventing accidental injury and illness is easy—it just takes a little knowledge of hot tub care and maintenance.

Injury Risks Include:

  • Accidental Injury

The most common injuries are slips and falls when entering or exiting the tub, or getting hair or other loose articles caught in a drain, creating a potential drowning risk.

Always be careful to hold onto railings when getting into or out of your hot tub. Never play in a hot tub like a small pool—this is especially important for children. Carefully monitor any children who are near the tub.

  • Scalding Burns

Most burns are caused by scalding water. Staying in a hot tub too long can lead to scalding burns. Children become overheated faster than adults. Adults should limit their time in a hot tub to 15-minute intervals, and the time for children should be even less. Track the temperature of your hot tub water, and carefully monitor children soaking in the hot tub (while also lowering the water temperature for them).

Illness Risks

Warm water kept at temperatures around 100°F (38°C) is a breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens that can cause illness and irritation. Possible risks include:

  • Hot Tub Rash:Also known as Pseudomonas dermatitis, this rash appears about three days after soaking in a hot tub and causes itchy redness and blisters. Shower after soaking in a hot tub to eliminate this risk.
  • Bodily Fluid Irritation:This occurs when traces of fecal matter or urine are present. When mixed with chlorine, fecal matter and urine can cause coughing and eye irritation.
  • Legionnaire’s DiseaseLegionella is transmitted by inhaling steam from a contaminated hot tub. Its incubation period is about one day after soaking in hot tub and, once contracted, the symptoms of this serious form of pneumonia include fever, chills, muscle pain, headache and cough.
  • ParasitesSome parasites can survive in chlorine. Cryptosporidium and giardia are common waterborne parasites and can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and dehydration.
  • E. coli and ShigellosisThese pathogens can be found in unsanitary hot tub water and can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain.

How to Use Chemicals for Hot Tub Safety

The above risks can be mitigated safely with the proper use of hot tub chemicals. The best way to protect you and your loved ones from potentially serious illness is to treat the water regularly for the correct pH and sanitation. Necessary chemicals, when used properly, will eliminate nearly all potentially harmful pathogen transmission.

Different options for hot tub chemicals are available that are budget-friendly, easy to manage and effective. These are the different chemicals you’ll need to maintain your hot tub:


Sanitizer must be used to kill bacteria and algae in your hot tub. Sanitizers include:

  • Chlorine
  • Bromine
  • Biguanide Sanitizer
  • Minerals


Shock breaks down organic waste contaminants that cause odor and cloudy water. Periodic use of shock will allow your sanitizer to perform at peak efficiency.

pH and Alkalinity

Test pH and alkalinity regularly to maintain the correct sanitation level in the water. Here are the proper levels to maintain:

  • Proper pH: 7.4–7.6
  • Proper Alkalinity: 100–150 ppm

Calcium and Hardness

Calcium hardness is important for the life of your hot tub, not the health of its occupants.

  • Proper Calcium Hardness: 100–200 ppm

Tip: Drain your hot tub every three to four months and refill it with fresh water for the best water conditions.

Hot tub chemicals are necessary for the safety and quality of the water in your hot tub. Proper hot tub maintenance enables you to enjoy all of the life-changing health benefits that your hot tub has to offer without any worry. Happy hot tubbing!

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