I don’t know why I didn’t twig to this before . . .

A fictional crime show on TV last night dealt with a man who died in a hot tub. One of the investigators mentioned in passing that there is often fecal matter in hot tubs, and it can make people very sick.

I wasn’t really watching the program; I was surfing the Internet while my sweetie watched the show. But that line caught my attention.

So this morning, I have been doing some research and, yes, sure enough, soaking in the hot tub with your friends may not be all that hygienic. According to a May 2014 report on the Huffington Post site, “you can pick up some unappetizing and even dangerous bugs from a hot tub dip, both from the water itself and also from the steamy atmosphere around it.”

The article names “Pseudomonas folliculitis,” an infection that develops into a rash. Then there’s Legionnaire’s disease, which can be fatal.

And the article has this:

“The average bather has about a tenth of a gram of feces in his gluteal fold, which is a nice way of saying butt crack,” (Charles) Gerba says. That means with five people, “you have a tablespoon of poop in the hot tub.” And beyond the gross-out factor, without safe levels of disinfectant, you can run the risk of transmitting diseases, he says.

Of course, there might not be any problems if everyone follows the rules: showers before going into the hot tub, and perhaps uses a baby wipe to clean their butts.

But at a social nudism event with, say, 100 people in attendance, you be sure that some fecal matter will get into the hot tub, yes?

The article does offer a solution:

Hlavsa recommends buying a set of test strips at your local pool supply store (they typically cost less than $10 for 50 strips, she says) so you can know if the water is safe before you hop in. “You just dip them into the water before you get in,” she says. “The pads change colors and by the different colors you can judge the different disinfectant.” The CDC recommends a water chemistry that looks like this: chlorine at 2–4 mg/L or parts per million (ppm) or bromine at 4–6 ppm and a pH between 7.2 and 7.8. The hot tub should have smooth tiles, no odor and a temperature that doesn’t exceed 104 degrees F. And always avoid getting the water in your mouth. Check out more hot tub safety tips from the CDC here.

This test should be mandatory at all social nudism pool events — be it in swimming pools and/or hot tubs. No one should be allowed to get into the water until it has been tested by one of the group’s administrators. And organizers may need to put more emphasis on hygiene, and ask everyone to do a butt cleanse with baby wipes before. The wipes can be purchased a Dollar stores in Canada.

As for going it alone, it would be worth your while to buy some test strips if you are using any hot tub and/or swimming pool facilities, whether you are a naturist or not.

Look before you soak . . .

— Jillian