Hot tubs can spread disease in winter
Hot tubs may increase risk of illnesses and spread bacteria during winter months, concludes a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The federal agency has released the findings of a study conducted between 2009 and 2010, during which time researchers found that more than 1,300 cases of illness in the U.S. were linked to exposure to hot tubs, as well as pools, lakes and other recreational water sources. They also found that there were 81 outbreaks--defined as two or more people getting sick after visiting the same location around the same time--and that 40 percent of the outbreaks occurred in February and March, many in hotels.
The spread of disease in hot tubs may be attributed in part to its high temperatures, which can make it difficult to keep levels of disinfectant as high as it needs to be to kill bacteria, the CDC said. Common bacterium found in hot tubs are Pseudomonas aeruginosa—which causes “hot-tub rash” when contaminated water is held by a bathing suit—and Cryptosporidum—a parasite which causes diarrhea.
The researchers advised that people should shower before entering hot tubs or pools and try to avoid swallowing any water, whose germs may not be killed by chlorine.