"Hot Tub Rash" (Pseudomonas Dermatitis/Folliculitis)
Note: A PDF related to this topic is also available: Facts About "Hot Tub Rash" [PDF - 1 page] and Datos sobre la "foliculitis de la bañera" y el "oído de nadador" (Pseudomonas) [PDF - 1 página] (translation courtesy of the New Mexico Department of Public Health).
Hot Tub Rash, or Pseudomonas dermatitis, is an infection of the skin. Hot Tub Rash infections are often caused by the germ Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This germ is common in the environment (water, soil) and is microscopic so that it can’t be seen with the naked eye. Hot Tub Rash is spread by direct skin contact with contaminated water and usually occurs within a few days of swimming in poorly maintained hot tubs or spas. It can also be spread by swimming in a contaminated pool or lake.
Symptoms of Hot Tub Rash include itchy skin that may progress to a bumpy red rash that may become tender. It is also characterized by pus-filled blisters usually found surrounding hair follicles. Because a swimsuit can keep contaminated water in longer contact with the skin, the rash may be worse under a person's swimsuit.
Most rashes clear up in a few days without medical treatment. However, if your rash persists, consult your healthcare provider.
Good pool maintenance and personal hygiene are important to prevent Hot Tub Rash:
- Ask the pool manager about the disinfectant and pH testing program at your hot tub or pool.
- Ensure frequent testing, control of disinfectant (usually chlorine or bromine) levels, and pH control.
- Remove swimsuits and shower after swimming.
- Clean swimsuits after swimming.
For more information on Hot Tub Rash, please see CDC’s Hot Tub Rash page.