Hot Tub Rash

Hot tub rash is a skin disorder caused due to infection of the hair follicles by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The colloquial name is so assigned, since the bacteria usually propagate in hot tubs, swimming pools, and even in loofah sponges. Medically, this skin disorder is also referred to as Pseudomonas folliculitis or hot tub folliculitis. The rash is more prevalent in children than in adults, as they tend to spend more time in hot tubs or swimming pools.

Symptoms

  • A noticeable symptom is the eruption of reddish-colored papules (0.5-1 cm size) mostly around the hair follicles, which also have a pustule at the center.
  • In the initial stages, the infected skin area may have a mild to intense itching sensation.
  • Within a few days, you will notice an outbreak of small, itchy bumps that are raised from the surrounding skin area.
  • Later on, as the bacterial infection progresses, the bumps turn tender and sensitive, giving rise to reddish-colored skin nodules with pus formation.
  • These rashes may erupt in any part of the body that comes in contact with contaminated water.
  • In general, signs and symptoms are manifested after two days of infection with the causal bacterium.
  • Outbreaks of the rashes and skin problems are mostly severe in areas that are covered by a swimsuit. This is because, the contaminated water remains in contact with those skin portions for a longer time.
  • Other than skin problems, a person with this rash may manifest increased fatigue and in rare cases, fever-like conditions.
  • Unlike other skin infection, this rash is not contagious.
  • In short, the bacterium responsible is not transferable even with direct skin contact with an infected person.
  • However, being non-transmittable does not mean that one should not take extra skin care for this problem.

Treatment and Prevention

  • Therapeutic treatment is not necessary for most of the cases, and they get treated on their own within a few days to two weeks time.
  • Nevertheless, for a prolonged rash problem, home remedies along with proper skin care should be followed carefully for treating the condition.
  • A mild, perfume-free soap should be used for cleaning the affected body areas.
  • Applying vinegar compresses for about 15-20 minutes twice a day will help in getting relief from itching.
  • For rashes that are associated with severe itching, applying an over-the-counter anti-itch cream or ointment containing hydrocortisone will help in reducing the discomfort.
  • In case of patients with a painful abscess formation, consulting a dermatologist is imperative.
  • The doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic course to hasten the healing period of the skin rashes.
  • This will also help in preventing recurrent outbreaks.

After the rash heals, it generally leaves behind a dark-colored or hyperpigmented lesion. Such skin lesions will disappear within a few months. While coming to prevention, sanitation and timely changing of the pool water or hot tub water is of utmost importance. Even the best hot tubs harbor this bacteria if not maintained properly. Hence, follow the required maintenance guidelines to minimize the risk of developing hot tub rashes.




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