If You Notice This in a Hot Tub, Don't Go In, CDC Says
This hot tub red flag should have you heading for the hills.
There are few more relaxing ways to end your day than sinking into a steamy hot tub. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are a handful of red flags that could signal a stop to your fun in the spa. Especially in shared or public hot tubs, the health authority recommends taking "HOT steps" before hopping in. This stands for "Heed, Observe, and Talk"—heeding hot tub rules, observing the hot tub and its surroundings before entering, and talking to the spa's owners if you suspect there's any cause for concern.
Step two—observing—may come in particularly handy when assessing your personal safety. In particular, the CDC says there's one thing you might notice that should have you heading for the hills. They warn that you should never go in if you spot it. Read on to find out what to look out for before you take your next dip.
Read the original article on Best Life.
According to the CDC, a safe spa unit will have smooth sides, but the lining or tiles "should not be sticky or slippery." According to spa distributor Hot Spring, this is because slippery, sticky, or slimy sides typically indicate the growth of algae.
"Your water could appear greenish or cloudy, or the sides of your hot tub shell could feel slippery and slimy to the touch. Algae will generally form in a hot tub when the pH levels in the water are imbalanced or when not enough sanitization chemicals, such as bromine or chlorine, have been added," representatives from the company explain on their website.
Algae growth is often the result of leaving your spa uncovered for too long. With the help of a little sunlight, even a small speck of algae brought in on a bathing suit can quickly result in green, slimy water. "Sunlight makes algae flourish, so leaving your hot tub uncovered for extended periods of time will encourage algae growth," warns Hot Spring. Don't go in if you notice these changes in water color or texture.
For more summer safety news sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
If your pool chemicals are off-balance enough for your hot tub to grow algae, they're also likely leaving you vulnerable to bacteria growing in your hot tub, too. The CDC warns that in some cases, bacteria from spas has been known to cause serious skin rashes, bacterial ear infections, or even Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria.
If you're unsure of your water quality, you can test your chemicals to determine whether or not your hot tub is safe. "Test for adequate free chlorine (3–10 parts per million or ppm) or bromine (4–8 ppm) and pH (7.2–7.8) levels using hot tub test strips," the CDC instructs.
Experts additionally recommend scrubbing down the sides of your spa, treating the water with a non-foaming algaecide, cleaning or replacing the filter if need be, and testing your water more regularly moving forward. Once all that hard work is done, you've definitely earned that relaxing spa soak.