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"Hot Tub Rash" Pseudomonas Dermatitis / Folliculitis

What is Hot Tub Rash?

couple in hot tub

Hot Tub Rash or dermatitis is an infection of the skin. The skin may become itchy and progress to a bumpy red rash that may become tender. There may also be pus-filled blisters that are 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.

What causes Hot Tub Rash?

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. Most rashes clear up in a few days without medical treatment. However, if your rash persists, consult your healthcare provider.

How is Hot Tub Rash spread?

Hot Tub Rash is spread by direct skin contact with contaminated water.

The rash usually occurs within a few days of swimming in poorly maintained hot tubs or spas but can also be spread by swimming in a contaminated pool or lake.

How can I protect myself from Hot Tub Rash?

Be aware that hot tubs and spas have warmer water than pools, so chlorine or other disinfectants break down faster. This leaves hot tubs and spas at risk for the spread of RWIs. Therefore, ask your pool manager about the disinfectant and pH testing program at your hot tub or pool.

Ensuring frequent testing, control of disinfectant (usually chlorine or bromine) levels, and pH control are likely to prevent the spread of dermatitis.

For further information on spa maintenance and use visit:

Spa user tips PDF icon (PDF, 87 KB)
Heed; observe; for preventing recreational water illnesses

Using pool and spa test strips (PDF icon PDF document, 27 KB)

Spa Operation PDF icon (PDF, 60 KB)

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Content Source: Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne, and Enteric Diseases
Page last modified: May 2, 2007