"Hot Tub Lung" is a relatively new condition originally published in the "Mayo Clinic Proceedings" November 2002. The condition is either an infection or an irritation due to exposure to
mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) . At temperatures above 84 degrees Fahrenheit, the level at which many if not most tubs operate, chlorine loses its much of its disinfectant properties, especially if proper sanitizing procedures are not followed, and MAC can flourish. The bubbles and steam rising from the spa or hot tub create an aerosol through which MAC readily enters the lungs by normal breathing or inhalation. It should be noted that it is currently unclear from the reports whether this condition is an infection or hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
The Mayo Clinic researchers also noted that all of the reported cases of "hot tub lung" have been associated with INDOOR spas or hot tubs at a personal residence.
The condition is most likely to occur when spa & hot tub owners DO NOT:
1. physically clean the tub
or spa (drain, clean, rinse, refill); thoroughly cleaning ALL spa
surfaces, especially the small crevices around the jets & inside of the
filter cartridge area. Rinsing alone is not good enough. Think about it,
you just don't rinse your dirty dinner dishes.
Read about purging & cleaning your spa here.
2. chemically clean or change the filter(s) (use SpaGuard® Filter Cleaner) as often as is recommended
3. do not follow a proper sanitizing procedure.
4. use & have the Spa or Hot tub in a
well-ventilated location (outside is preferable, if located indoors,
there must be good ventilation to aid in the removal of the contaminants
that gas-off or become aerosolized)
Read more about
Hot tub Odors
Perform the following procedure to treat the infected spa or hot tub:As an additional precaution, Par Pool & Spa STRONGLY RECOMMENDS cleaning the underside of the spa or hot tub insulating cover with
a hard-surface disinfectant such as Pursue«
Broad Spectrum Disinfectant Deodorizer or Lysol«
following all label instructions for
Drain the spa and refill just above the jets.
Remove the filter and soak in a solution of chlorine and water during treatment. (2 Tbsp
Dry chlorinating concentrate per 5 gallons of water)
four times the normal dose of SpaGuard« Chlorinating
Turn on the jets and circulate for 2 - 3 hours. The bacterial growth usually builds up in the lines, so it is necessary to flush them thoroughly.
Drain the spa again and refill with fresh water.
Use Spa System Flush or Swirl Away to aid in
removing any bio-film that may be contaminating the lines.
After applying, allow to circulate according to label instructions & drain &
Rinse and replace the filter.
Rebalance spa (pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness) and shock.
Do not enter the spa until sanitizer level drops below 4.0 ppm.
Enforce shower rules before entering spa.
Maintain 1-3 ppm Free Available chlorine in residual spas and 3- 5 ppm in commercial spas.
A side note:
Products such as Soft Soak® Sanitizer do not lose their effectiveness as water temperature increases.
Information found in "Mayo Clinic Proceedings," November 2002
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