Hot Tub Life
What is Hot
Tub Pseudomonas ?
Pseudomonas is a common problem in warm water
pools and spas in particular. Fortunately the most common symptom is
an itchy rash. It is often confused with bug bites (often complaints
are received that a hotel has "bed bugs"), chicken pox,
and other types of rashes. It can be much more serious including
severe rashes requiring hospitalization, ear infections, urinary and
vaginal infections, and probably most serious is pneumonia.
There are two kinds of Pseudomonas outbreaks.
Most often seen is what some call transitory Pseudomonas
contamination of a spa. About 15% of the population have Pseudomonas
as a naturally part of the flora and fauna of their skin. When a
"party" occurs in the spa, all the disinfectant is used up
and the organism is spread to everyone in the tub from the carrier.
Because the hot water opens up the pores, the Pseudomonas can enter
the pores, "follicles", in the skin, even of the carrier,
and will cause the Pseudomonas Folliculitis problems. Once the party
is over, everyone gets out, the spa can reestablish the disinfectant
residual and the organisms are killed before setting up residence in
The second kind problem is when Pseudomonas
sets up residence in your spa. If the disinfectant residual is not
re-established soon enough, the organism can set up residence in the
water. This is a much more serious problem for maintenance. Once it
sets up residence, it covers itself with a slime layer to protect
itself against the chlorine.
It likes to set up residence on surfaces, and
is often found in areas of low flow. Sometimes in such large amounts
that one can scoop out a handful of the stuff. Generally
super-chlorinating will eliminate most infestations.
As a prophylactic measure one can drain the
spa after several hours of high chlorine, and brush and scrub the
spa with a 200-ppm solution of chlorine (2 oz. of household bleach
per gallon of water, or 1 oz of 12% hypochlorite solution). The key
is to brush and break up the protective layer.
Conscientious maintenance of disinfectant is
the best procedure, don't let is set up residence in the first
place, and kill it before it passes from person-to-person.