hot tubs and dehydration

What You Should Know About Hot Tubs & Dehydration

Can a hot tub cause dehydration?

Dehydration is a symptom of losing more water than you are taking in. It can happen to anyone at any age who is not drinking enough fluids and engaging in activities like exercise or using a hot tub.

By setting your hot tub to the correct temperature and following the safety guidelines listed in this article, dehydration while hot tubbing can be something that is easily avoided.

Signs to watch out for

Knowing what the symptoms of dehydration are is helpful so you can identify if you or one of your hot tub guests is getting dehydrated.

According to the Mayo Clinic, mild cases of dehydration can cause any one of the following symptoms:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lethargy, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Unusual thirst
  • Headache

If you are following hot tub safety practices, we hope that no one will ever progress to the state of severe dehydration while hot tubbing, but here are the warning signs that signal the need for medical attention:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Lack of sweating
  • Sunken eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat; rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • No elasticity to the skin-when pinched, skin does not “bounce back”

People at a higher risk

Those with heart, lung, asthma, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, and circulation conditions are at greater risk of dehydration.

If you have any of the conditions above; consult a doctor to be clear about what temperature and how long you can stay in a hot tub.

Children and hot tubs

Children are at a greater risk for dehydration because they have a higher metabolic rate and process water faster than adults. They are also less likely to notice and communicate if they are experiencing symptoms of dehydration.

The American Association of Pediatrics does not lay out specific guidelines for children and hot tub use, but they do not recommend that babies or toddlers use a hot tub.

When in doubt, ask your Doctor, and consider the guidelines from The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals:

“No young child should be allowed in a hot tub until they can stand on the bottom and have their head remain completely out of the water. Children who are big enough to be in a hot tub should not use it for more than five minutes at a time, especially at the maximum temperature of 104 degrees. Dropping the spa temperature to 98 degrees would allow for longer soaks – but never more than 15 minutes at a time. It is also recommended that young children avoid full body immersion.”

If you notice any of the signs of dehydration, or red faces, glassy eyes and lethargic behavior-remove the child immediately.

It should go without saying that children should never hot tub alone.

How to treat dehydration

The Mayo Clinic suggests treating the symptoms of healthy adults with mild dehydration by immediately drinking more fluids such as water or sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.

They recommend seeking medical care for symptoms of severe dehydration such as dizziness, extreme thirst, or shriveled skin.

It is also noted that children, the elderly, and those with health conditions should be treated with greater caution.

How to avoid getting dehydrated in a hot tub

There are simple guidelines to follow to ensure that you and your guests enjoy your hot tub time without the risk of dehydration.

Aside from greater caution for children, elderly, and those with existing medical conditions; the following activities should be avoided altogether:

  • Using the hot tub while intoxicated
  • Using drugs or medications like antihistamines, anticoagulants, or tranquilizers while in the hot tub
  • Exceeding the recommended temperature, or going above 104 degrees fahrenheit
  • Pregnant women, babies and toddlers should never use the hot tub
  • Getting into the hot tub after a hard workout or a long run
  • Excessive hot tub use, or exceeding the recommended time
  • Children under 5 should never use a hot tub

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms

http://www.apsp.org/safety/content.cfm?ItemNumber=979

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