Soaking in a hot tub offers incomparable healing benefits for a number of reasons. It relieves stress and sore muscles and may even improve your circulation. And it’s great fun to do in the winter if you have one!
However, you could get sick if you don’t take the right steps to maintain your spa. Worse yet, you or someone you love could hurt yourself. Here are six spa health and safety tips to help you enjoy a worry-free bath that will relieve your stress.
1. Test your waters
Your spa water does not flow down the drain like your bath water does. Since you reuse it over and over, you need to maintain the correct chemical balance to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria like pseudomonas and legionella. The latter germ can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal disease.
How do you keep these bad bacteria at bay? Chlorine has been used to treat public water supplies for over 100 years and has been shown to be reliable for safe broad-spectrum disinfection. Your spa will likely come with starter power, but it is your responsibility to maintain the correct level. This substance comes in both powder and tablet form, and your precise formulation will depend on the type of jar you have.
Bromine is another frequently used disinfectant. These tablets usually float in a feeder that you can use in almost any spa. This chemical is more stable than chlorine in hot water, making it a popular choice for spas.
2. Watch for signs of trouble
Test strips are an essential part of owning a spa. However, what happens when you use a spa in a public facility, such as a gym or hotel? How can you tell that water is safe for a dip?
Cloudy, foamy water can occur when lotions, soaps, and natural body oils from people’s skin build up in the tub, disrupting the chemical balance. It can also come from the leaves and grass blowing in uncovered outdoor facilities. Whatever the cause, it indicates a chemical imbalance that you need to correct before swimming. If this happens at home, you can shock your tub. In public places, you will need to alert the property manager to the situation.
What if the water looks cloudy? You can test whether it is safe to soak by throwing a dime at the bottom. If you can read whether the coin is heads or tails when it lands, you’re safe – if not, you need to take corrective action.
3. Maintain optimum temperature
The purpose of a hot tub is to heat, but how much heat is too much? Think of your natural body temperature of 98.6 degrees as a benchmark of comfort. You want your water to be hotter than that, otherwise you might feel uncomfortable in the cool.
Many experts recommend setting your spa temperature between 100 and 102 F. This range is comfortable enough to relax muscles and relieve tension without making you uncomfortable. The maximum temperature you should set is 104 F. Higher, you could incur health risks from excessive heat.
4. Take a shower or a bath before entering
If you have an indoor hot tub, the main contaminants in the water come from the natural oils, soaps, and lotions that most people have on their skin. Showering or bathing before bathing can lower microbial levels, making it easier for you to control your chemical balance.
If you have an outdoor bathtub, check to see if the property offers a shower. Many public health clubs require their members to shower before soaking – following the rules helps keep the spa hygienic for everyone.
5. Check your drain covers
You might not think about the danger from below, especially if you are a good swimmer. However, broken or ill-fitting drain covers can present a serious health risk that you should not ignore, especially if you have children.
Even adults can get their hair tangled in the drain, posing a risk of drowning. A new law passed in 2008 requires all public swimming pools and spas to install anti-tangle drain covers, but you are responsible for maintaining your model home.
6. Know when to say no
As glorious as it is to get soaked, there is also a time to say no. One occurs when you are pregnant. While you can use a hot tub with a baby on board, you should limit your exposure to less than 10 minutes at a time. It is best to avoid them completely during the early stages to avoid potential heat damage to the fetus.
Another time to gently object is when you’ve had one too many. It’s tempting to double your trigger. However, combining heat with alcohol can cause dizziness, falls and even drowning.
Spa health and safety tips
Few things compare with the luxurious feeling of soaking in a heated spa. Follow these spa health and safety tips to maximize your enjoyment.