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 . . .
They should take a lesson from the Japanese Onsen. They have been doing it for hundreds of years. And no chlorine
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Interesting. I just read the Wikipedia entry on Onsens. It has a section on ensuring cleanliness.
Here’s the link for those interested in learning more.
Onsen entry on Wikipedia
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Should showdr before going into hot tub as well
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Jillian – my wife is a biologist, mostly working with e-Coli in her research. Properly maintained hot tubs don’t scare her at all.
Keeping a tub at a ph 7 or less with chlorine, and don’t let it go below 80-f will kill 99% of the e-Coli. If it’s in your budget a UV filter will kill a lot of the bacteria in the water.
That’s very reassuring, Steve. Thank you.
Most of the hot tubs I use are with my naturism group in public facilities. We have to hope, I guess, that the owners of the facilities are on top of things.
At a pH of “7 or less”, the acidity of the water will start destroying many parts of a hot tub (as well as cause Skin and Eye Irritation). The recommended Ph level is 7.2 to 7.8
A UV “filter” will ONLY kill bacteria that passes through it. It WILL not leave any sanitizing residual in the water, and it’s VERY easy for bacterial levels to get so high, that the bacteria will be multiplying faster than the UV is killing it.
Thanks, Andrew, and welcome here.
Not sure what the connection to nudism is here. The ‘bathing suit’ is not and had never been a barrier to the passage of bacteria. I can pretty much guarantee that hot tubs at public pool facilities are used by people who just change into their ‘bathing suits’ have a quick rinse and then jump right in!
BTW, the advice about test strips is poor. As an owner of a hot tub, I have used them and found them to be quite unreliable (testing for Br/Cl, pH, alkalinity and hardness). I regularly take a hot tub water sample in for testing on a spectrophotometer. Not only is it done quickly, I get a printed recommendation of adjustments. In between, I test the pH with a meter, not with strips and keep the pH between 7.2 and 7.6.
Paul, the connection with naturism/nudism is that I write a lot of posts in my blogs about the subject, and I have mentioned hot tubs often because many of us are in groups that use such public facilities. But I have never mentioned the hygiene issue before. So, I felt I owed it to my nudism/naturism readers to raise the subject for discussion — and there are a lot of them here.
I heard an interview with the head of, oh, the Hilton chain or something, and he said that you’d never find HIM using a hotel hot tub! Ah, but did he sleep in a cum and bedbug ridden bed?
Life can be scary and we can hide, or we can choose wisely and visit decent places that maintain their property. Never had a problem with a hot tub OR a bed, and am not going to start worrying now.
Bidet! Each year traveling in France we find fewer and fewer which is mad.
Humans and their lack of personal hygiene, yuk…
Hot tubs off my wish list now.
Paul Andreassen: I agree that a suit is no barrier to bacteria. A couple additional points: at least naturists have an opportunity to clean properly in the pre-swim shower without a swimsuit; and watch (surreptitiously) in the shower room and you will note that most naturists DO clean properly, with soap, all parts of the body.
I believe naturists are more aware of the hygiene aspects than your average swimmer, hence the golden rule of “always sit on a towel”, and they act on that understanding. In any case, I am told that the public facility hot tubs are emptied and refilled very frequently, and disinfectant levels are monitored and adjusted if required more often than once a day. I am not concerned about hot tubs that are maintained properly, as is mine at home. It is useful, however, to remind your naturist readers of the need for proper hygiene. Thanks.
One question, Ted:
While people may shower before they enter a public facility, how many are actually doing a thorough job of cleaning that one spot on the body that is most likely to spread bacteria, namely the “butt fold”?
My hygiene training taught me that the only way to be sure that area is completely clean is to use wet sanitized “baby” wipes.
Which is why I think it would be a good idea for naturist organizations using public facilities to have some on hand and encourage people to use them in a washroom stall (but not flushing them down the toilet afterward).
I’m not so concerned about somebody washing the rest of their body.
That is what I was implying when I said “all parts of the body” Most naturists DO wash the “butt fold” in the shower, with soap, I know I do, and naturists are able to do so while those in swim suits are not. We all know how reluctant non-naturists are to remove the swim suit in the locker room let alone in the shower. Strange but true!
Thanks for the reassurance, Ted.