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Pseudomonas Aeruginosa - Hot tub / spa rash...

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa - Hot tub / spa rash

This is a commonly occurring bacteria found in water and soil.  Listed as an "opportunistic bacteria" that can cause:

  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Dermatitis (Skin Rash or Pseudomonas Folliculitis)
  • Respiratory System Infections
  • Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa) - please see your local doctor for treatment
  • Other systemic infections

In Spas & Hot tubs, a very likely cause of skin rash is Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). Pseudomonas feeds on oil & grease present in the spa water (mainly from body oils & skin treatments brought into the spa from bathers NOT properly showering prior to entering the spa or hot tub) and can multiply rapidly under ideal conditions (such as lack of proper sanitizing procedures).

Normally occurring biofilms on all spa or hot tub surfaces (plumbing lines, interior surfaces, pillows, jets, spa rim above the water line, etc), can contain this bacteria.

In swimming pools, PA can be found on various areas such as pool coping, waterfall edges, ladder steps, etc. PA infects the hair follicles on the body.

 

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If infected, you will notice the following characteristics of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa:

  • Itchy rash 8 to 48 hours after contamination.
  • Rash can occur on arms, legs or trunk of body.
  • Rash disappears 7 to 10 days without treatment.

Perform the following procedure to treat  the infected spa or hot tub:

  1. Drain the spa and refill just above the jets.
  2. Remove the filter and soak in a solution of chlorine and water during treatment. (2 Tbsp of Chlorine/5 gallons of water)
     
  3. Clean all spa surfaces that may come in contact with a bather's skin (especially arm pits, chest & back) - above & below the waterline.  Be sure the chlorinated or otherwise treated hot tub water regularly is in contact with these areas - even the top edge of the spa that is in contact with the cover.
  4. Shock with four times the normal dose of SpaGuard« Chlorinating Concentrate.
  5. 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.
  6. Follow these further instructions when dealing the bio-film that serves as a "base of operations" for the bacteria in your spa or hot tub.
     
  7. Drain the spa again and refill with fresh water.
  8. Chemically clean (such as SpaGuard« Filter Cleaner«) and / or replace the filter .
  9. Rebalance spa and shock. Do not enter spa until sanitizer level drops below 4.0 ppm.
  10. As an additional precaution, Par Pool & Spa STRONGLY RECOMMENDS cleaning the underside of the spa or hot tub insulating cover with BioGuard® Stow Away® (contains quarternary ammonium compounds, which when used properly controls mildew).  Clean your cover with Stow Away® whenever you drain, clean & refill your spa or hot tub.
     
  11. Not cleaning the cover could re-contaminate the spa or hot tub surface with the PA bacteria.
Be sure to seek medical attention from a qualified doctor.  Do not self-diagnose ANY condition.  This page is provided for informational purposes ONLY.

Treatment of Swimming Pools is similar.  Regularly clean by brushing & thoroughly wiping the suspected areas with approved cleaners or sanitizers (i.e. chlorinated pool water). Click here for Swimming Pools.

Prevention:
Enforce shower rules before entering spa or pool.
Maintain 1-3 ppm Free Available chlorine in residual spas or pools and 3- 5 ppm in commercial spas or pools.

To Purchase the products mentioned, click here

Information from:
BioLab, Inc.
Kenneth Todar, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Bacteriology

If you still need help, here's how to reach us:

Telephone (during store hours): Stratford  203-377-0100
FAX: (24 hrs) 203-375-7787
Email: techhelp@parpool-spa.com

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If you need help with your Swimming Pool, then please visit our sister site, www.pool-care.net .  You'll find the same great quality & most up-to-date information that you've come to expect from Par Pool & Spa.  
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