Hot Tub Side Effects

Owning a hot tub does come with some side effects to your health along with many symptoms relating to other problems you may not be aware of.

The following examples show what having a hot tub does to your body and what you need to watch out for.

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Starting with how hot tubs affect anyone with raised blood pressure, having been asked several times about hot tubs and blood pressure, being in the medical profession, my main response is basically your blood pressure drops marginally shortly after climbing into a hot tub, and while you are in it, so keeping track of your blood pressure is easily controlled with a waterproof fitness tracker, as below.

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This is caused by your blood passing to the outer layers (the skin) of your body to try to pass any excess body heat to your surroundings.

Normally this is done by sweating, but in a hot tub, this is restricted owing to the higher water temperature being above body heat. Despite this fact, you do sweat in a hot tub which is not so obvious, but this is limited by the hotter external temperature.

Slightly beneath your skin’s surface, your blood vessels become enlarged as blood is the main carrier of excess heat from your body, which in turn reduces your blood pressure allowing your heart to take it easy for a while.

For that reason, because of the slightly reduced blood pressure, you may begin to feel a little faint or light-headed the longer you stay submerged in the hot water, but it’s nice to relax there, isn’t it?

Once you are out, as your skin cools, the blood vessels slowly reduce in size, causing your blood pressure to return to its norm and the faintness disappears of its own accord.

So you will see that staying too long in a hot tub if you have high blood pressure is not a problem, but this time should be limited to around ten to twenty minutes while keeping the temperature down to just above body heat – you are, in effect, taking a warm, relaxing bath and there is nothing wrong with that regarding your body.



This is a different kettle of fish compared to high blood pressure.


Blood thinners are used basically to keep your blood flowing, to stop clots, to allow your heart to function as it should, eliminate strokes and avert other heart problems developing, especially after surgery.

In the case of blood thinners given after surgery as an injection, it is more than likely you will have been told to steer clear of any undue fluctuations in temperature – meaning no hot baths or hot tubs as this can be detrimental.

For the general rule of thumb regarding pills, these can cause your uptake of the drug to be sped up because of the blood vessel dilation due to the heat involved, but only minimally, so it is wisest to not use hot tubs altogether or in a limited fashion by reducing the temperature or time of soaking.


For patches, keeping out of hot tubs is a must-do…

Patches, in normal temperatures, allow a small amount of the medication to penetrate the skin into the blood vessels below the surface. But with a hot tub with its elevated temperature, this means by having dilated blood vessels, owing to the extra heat of your hot tub, you more than likely will receive an unintended overdose of your medication – which has proven to be fatal in the past with some unfortunate people.


Hot tubs and low blood pressure

If you generally have a lower than normal blood pressure there is no need to be concerned about using a hot tub provided you do not feel dizzy when you are either in the water or as you get out.

More than likely while you are in the water you will be fine, but as you stand up to get out, because of the larger blood vessels under the surface of your skin trying to lose body heat and with the blood flowing more freely, you may find your blood tends to go to the lower parts of your body, that way reducing the flow to your brain.

This will obviously make you feel dizzy or perhaps give blurred vision, a feeling of sickness or produce palpitations, where you sense your heart is working harder than normal, especially if your blood pressure is on the low side.

If you feel your blood pressure is up, more than likely by hearing your heart pounding in your ears as it pushes blood through your arteries, the best bet is to use a lower temperature and also restrict the amount of time you are soaking in your hot tub or spa.


Hot Tubs and Beta-Blockers.

Beta-blockers basically slow your heart rate down a little, that way reducing your blood pressure, so using a hot tub you will need to be aware you can have the same effects as someone with low blood pressure (as above) when you get out of your hot tub.

Other than that, there is no reason to avoid hot tubs.

However, there are many other heart complaints being treated by a myriad of medications, so the best bet is to speak to your doctor regarding using hot tubs, just to be sure.



If you drink alcohol while in a hot tub you are doubling the chances of developing dehydration as you are sweating in the water while the alcohol absorbs water from your body.

Hate to be a spoilsport, but drinking soft drinks or neat water immediately after your soaking will help to re-balance your fluid levels.


Headache after a hot tub?


Some folk get headaches after using a hot tub.

This is usually caused by the heat, or a temperature difference between the outer air temperature and the water in your hot tub and one of the causes is dehydration while you are in the spa. It can be an early symptom of raised blood pressure too.

This is more common in the summer months for exactly the reason of hot-tubbers relaxing with the odd glass of bubbly or whatever takes their fancy as they admire the night sky or coolness of the evening without getting singed by the sun.

After all, relaxation is the key function of owning a hot tub.

The simplest solution is to keep the temperature down a little, perhaps stay in the shade a bit more if it is still bright sunshine and drink plenty of water, that way the headaches will not develop when you use a hot tub.


Why does my hot tub make me cough?


A few people have asked why does my hot tub make me cough or sneeze.

Yueeng Pool Test Strips, 6-in-1 Spa Test Strips for Hot Tubs, PH Total Chlorine, Free Chlorine/Bromine, Total Alkalinity, Cyanuric Acid, Total Hardness Water Chemistry Tester, 100 Count (2 Pack) They say they change the water every two months as suggested by their supplier, clean the filters regularly and check the chemicals as should be done, but still keep getting this coughing starting about six weeks after each water change.

If the bubbles are switched off it is not too bad, but switch them on and it starts getting unbearable.

They were also asking if it is what is referred to as hot tub lung!


The answer is it is not Hot Tub lung!


In truth, this is caused by an imbalance in chemicals within your water and occurs especially when bromine is used as a conditioner.

Owing to the heat, many of these chemicals, chlorine in particular, simply evaporate off while some negate the effects of others, so checking them regularly and adding what is needed would solve this issue.

Bromine can give a wrong reading when using test strips for the chemical balance, so this aggravates the coughing owing to the water being more alkaline than it should be, meaning more bacteria are present.


The simpler option would be to drain and refill your hot tub at the first sign of coughing, the six-week mark,  rather than trying to balance the chemical ratios as this removes the bacteria which cause us to cough.


Hot tub lung disease – what exactly is it?


This disease (as it is called) affects people who own hot tubs within their property. It occurs by inhaling bacteria trapped within the hot tub environment where natural drafts do not clear these bacteria away.

Its true name is hypersensitivity pneumonitis and it is also called lifeguards lung because of its links to indoor pools.

Generally, in an enclosed environment, these bacteria rise up from the surface of your hot tub, that way you are breathing them in as you laze there soaking up the heat – and you are totally unaware of it happening.

Once inside your lungs, they develop more, giving chest complaints like causing difficulties in breathing, making you cough, create a fever and making you feel fatigued and diminishing your appetite causing weight loss.

On top of this, you may also get night sweats as your body tries to fight off the infection from these parasites.


Because of the effects people often assume it is asthma developing, or maybe bronchitis, possibly even TB. They may be prescribed antibiotics, which would do some good, but if they continue with their hot tubs it will never go.

The only answer is to drain the hot tub – give it a thorough clean-out using the Spaguard System Flush and refill and start again.

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It is reckoned that treatment for hot tub lung disease can take anything up to a year to be completely healed of it and for this reason it is best to make sure you clean out your hot tub regularly, keep the chlorine levels right using these chlorine granules or tablets in a Hydrotools Floating Mini  Dispenser (more than likely arrived with your hot tub) to keep your chemical balance right and avoid these infections.

Remember, also, to use a recommended filter cleaner like Spaguard (above) to make sure the hidden parts of your heating and filtration system are not breeding grounds for this unwanted cause of such a debilitating illness.


Diabetes and hot tubs

There have been lots of questions regarding diabetes and hot tubs, so we’ll deal with them in numerical order:

Diabetes and hot tubs type 1…

There is not really too much of a problem where type 1 diabetics are concerned when using hot tubs providing they have not had this condition for some time.

The main consideration is regarding the use of modern patches in that as their blood vessels dilate, then they may find more insulin is given, causing their blood sugar levels to drop a little which can usually be felt within twenty minutes to half an hour of entering the water.

But for those people sticking with injections who have had it more than ten years the main two are how they endure the heat and making sure their feet are not providing an easy route for infective bacteria.


Usually, a reaction happens to a diabetic when their blood sugar levels go either low or high where they tend to get hot and sweat a lot.

In a hot tub they are naturally heated up and sweat a lot, so they need to be aware of this as they will think their blood sugars are all over the show.

From this reaction, it will be understood they may be asking for food to raise their blood sugars (even though their sugar levels may already be raised above normal for them) and the best bet is to take a blood reading to establish their correct glucose level at about 15 minutes before they enter the water if there is any doubt.


From the point of view of someone who has had type 1 diabetes for more than 30 years, then their perceived feelings about their body condition are usually not right as their nerves are not giving their brain a true reading of their sensations, so they may well not be aware of their blood sugars dropping until being almost on the point of collapse, especially in a hot tub.

Not only this, but they don’t react too well with a raised core temperature, so being aware of their blood readings before they get in a hot tub is a must for diabetics.

If they become dizzy, not thinking right, unsure of their surroundings, confused a little which may make matters worse, the answer there is to limit the time of hot tub use and check their blood readings pre-entry.


From the point of view of circulation and nerve sensations, if they have had diabetes for some time, their neural sensations may be a bit lacking. Could they be scalding themselves without realizing when they can’t feel their feet?

Another consideration for diabetics with a poor neural activity where sensations are diminished, is do they have any unnoticed cuts (open skin) or infected non-naturally repairing sores on their skin – just asking for more infections to develop, never mind adding their infections into the water for others to suffer from?

If they have trod on a sharp object before getting into the hot tub their skin could be broken or they could easily have an object pushed through the sole of their feet without even realizing it has happened when there is no or very little feeling there.

A further consideration is that diabetics tend to have cracked heels owing to poor circulation, especially beyond the ten year period and also when they are mid-life onwards.

The blood does not reach the parts in the extremities too readily because of cholesterol blocking their arteries from too high sugar levels in their reckless youth and early twenties when life has no limitations and the sugars are kept a little higher generally to stop sugar levels dropping unexpectedly.


This developing poor circulation limits repair and renewals taking place naturally by white blood cells, meaning skin dries around the feet very easily, and with little feeling there owing to the nerves also being stifled, they tend to be ignored. However, this causes diabetic foot cracking – unnoticed splits on the outer edges of the heel until, suddenly, they provide severe pain as the dry skin splits further.

This exposes the inner body underneath the protective barrier of the skin, which would easily allow infections and bacteria to penetrate a body, especially from captured water in a hot tub.


But there is an easy remedy.

Simply wrap a plastic bag around your feet and seal it on your legs to keep the water away from any cuts.

An alternative would be using cling film.


Using a barrier cream, sun tan lotion, foot balm or ointments of any sort would simply get washed off your feet, causing more scum to float to the surface, which in turn allows more food and breeding capacity for bacteria, and offers very little protection at the same time.


Horizon HV-SB2PK Scumball Pool and Spa Scum Eliminating Ball (2 Packs of 2) To help overcome this potential problem, why not use a scum ball grease collector? They are very inexpensive, simple to use, float freely on the surface, absorb around 90% of the floating grease, and can be washed out weekly or fortnightly to remove the collected grease, depending on how often your tub is used.

That way, you are removing the bacterial food and colony development situation and you can easily overcome the biggest potential hazard of infection troubles from bacteria within your hot tub water.


Neglect it, and in this situation, it wouldn’t be long before amputations were the order of the day!

Can Type 1 Diabetics go in hot tubs safely – a more in-depth review – check our recent post on that topic for more details. Click this green tab to find out more. 


Diabetes and hot tubs type 2…

Anyone with diabetes type 2 has a much better chance of using a hot tub as their neural system will not be as degraded, compared to a type 1 diabetic.

They may well have the same feelings and doubts – probably in a lesser way than a type 1, but there should be no reason why a type 2 diabetic cannot use a hot tub providing they watch out for anything puncturing their skin.

The above mentioned diabetic foot cracking condition around the edges of your heels will also apply if you have had type 2 for some time.


Pre-Diabetes and Hot Tubs


Pre-diabetes is not such a big issue regarding using hot tubs.

A pre-diabetic is more often than not related to a diabetic or is generally overweight and the related types need to be aware that laying in a hot tub for hours on end is not going to help their health in the long term.

They need to be watching their food intake while at the same time burning off any surplus calories, much like the overweight person.

Being pre-diabetic usually means they are in the very early stages of diabetes development, where circulation and physical activity are fine along with bodily repair functions, but the potential is still there for diabetes development, so using a hot tub is perfectly OK, much like any healthy person, but best limit the time you are soaking and also the heat.



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One thought on “Hot Tub Side Effects

  1. Hi Alexander, more will be added as we will try to cover all aspects of good benefits and bad problems associated with hot tubs and their use.

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