Hot Tub Don'ts
If you're fortunate enough to own a hot tub or spa, then you probably know all the things you should and shouldn't do in and around the tub, like issues of safety, care, and maintenance.
Or do you? What's the highest temperature at which the water should be safely set? Is it OK to have two glasses of wine, but no more? Just a little bit of sand tracked into the tub won't hurt, right? Will kids be fine in the hot tub as long as an adult is somewhere in the vicinity?
Better find out.
Don't Use Alcohol or Drugs
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but drinking and hot tubbing are not a good mix. Despite all of those movie scenes depicting characters cavorting in hot tubs with their favorite beverage in hand, physicians and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) don't recommend it. Sports stars and politicians have been known to imbibe while entertaining in a spa, but that doesn't mean you should follow their example. The same caution should be used with drugs—check with your doctor before soaking in extremely hot water while taking a prescription.
One reason is that both alcohol and some drugs (prescription and recreational) can cause drowsiness or disorientation. Check the water temperature before entering (it should not exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit), observe reasonable time limits (10 to 15 minutes), and enter and exit the tub slowly in case of dizziness or to prevent falls.
Wounds, Sores, and Spas
People with open sores or any type of infection should not use a spa. The hot water is the perfect environment for spreading infections, especially if sanitizer levels are not properly maintained. The same goes for rashes and other injuries. Consult a doctor to get the green light before stepping back into a hot tub.
Comfortable Water Temperatures
Newer spas have factory-set temperature maximums of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Most bathers find that 100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit is a comfortable and therapeutic level. Higher temperatures can place undue strain on the cardiovascular system. Be sure to accurately monitor the temperature. If you or your guests feel "funny," lightheaded, or get overheated, step out of the tub. Check the temperature before returning and make sure you cool off and drink plenty of water.
Parents and caregivers should never—not even for a moment—leave children alone near open bodies of water, such as lakes or swimming pools, nor near water in homes (bathtubs and spas), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Spas and hot tubs are dangerous for young children, who can easily drown or become overheated. Don't allow young children to use hot tubs, the AAP advises. Parents should learn CPR and keep a cellphone and emergency equipment (i.e., life preservers) at the poolside.
A young child's risk of drowning should be taken seriously. Children can drown in just a few inches of water, and every year several do. Probably the greatest drowning danger arises when a child climbs unnoticed into an unsecured or unattended spa.
For this reason, hot tubs pose a constant source of danger. Like pools, spas should be properly fenced or covered, and an open tub should never be left alone by an adult—even for a minute or less.
It starts innocently enough: a little flirting, teasing, and water play. Everyone becomes a kid again in the water, and casual horseplay can quickly get out of hand, with someone getting hurt. In the limited space of a hot tub, there's no place to contain the action. Yes, it may be fun, but someone can slip easily, hit his or her head, twist an ankle, etc. Just, don't.
Don't jump or dive into a spool, spa, or hot tub. Climb in carefully; do not allow anyone to run or play while in or near the spa.
Spas and Drain Covers
Every public pool and spa in the United States must be equipped with an anti-entrapment drain cover. Learn pool and spa safety, how to install a compliant drain covers, and regularly maintain your pool and spa.
Never use your spa during extreme weather conditions (i.e. electrical storms, tornados, hurricanes). Go inside and reschedule your hot tub party for a clear day.
Don't Soak in Hot Tubs Alone
While those rules posted near public spas don't seem exactly scientific, some just make good sense. Like not using the hot tub alone. If you've been drinking, take meds, have high or low blood pressure, or any other medical condition, it would be wise to wait for a companion to join you for a soak. Consult a doctor before using a hot tub regularly.
What to Do Before Entering a Hot Tub
Now that you know what not to do, discover what you should do before entering a hot tub. It never harms your reputation to be known as someone who is clean, reliable, and has impeccable manners.