As our weather gets cooler, a Decatur doctor is sending out a warning about sinking into those nice warm bubbles of the hot tub: make sure you are not dunking yourself in some potentially deadly germs.
The warm water and sparkling bubbles are inviting, but do you know what could be lurking in the water?
"One of the most common is a bacterial skin infection that produces little boils or pustules on your skin that can be really annoying," said Dr. Scott Harris, a disease specialist.
Dr. Harris said bacteria needs a warm, wet place to thrive and that those who wear swimsuits that keep skin wet for prolonged periods are more prone to the infection.
Steve Wallace, Service Manager at Julia's Pools, said everyone should have one important lesson before owning a hot tub. "Sanitizer is most important. Bromine will kill anything in the water. It's a cousin to chlorine," he said.
The next concern is the pH level of the water: too high, and algae can grow. Too low, and "it will eat up your seals, pumps and motors – anything metal in there," warned Wallace.
Wallace uses a kit in the field, which can measure bromine and pH levels. In the tub he demonstrated on, he found the pH was rather low. "We are pretty acidic. We need to be between a 7.2 and a 7.6. To do that, we can add some pH increaser."
The bottom line: before you invest in a hot tub, make sure you have a good tutorial to make certain that you and your family stay healthy.