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Recreational Water Illnesses - Pseudomonas Aeruginosa (Aurigenosa)

This is a commonly occurring bacteria found in water and soil.  Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is listed as an "opportunistic bacteria" that can cause:

  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Dermatitis (Skin Rash or Pseudomonas Folliculitis)
  • Respiratory System Infections
  • Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa) - please see your local doctor for treatment
  • Other systemic infections

pseudomonas aeruginosaIn swimming pools, a very likely cause of skin rash is Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA).

Pseudomonas feeds on oil & grease present in the spa water (mainly from body oils & skin treatments brought into the spa from bathers NOT properly showering prior to entering the spa or hot tub) and can multiply rapidly under ideal conditions (such as lack of proper sanitizing procedures).

PA can be found on various areas of swimming pools such as pool coping, waterfall edges, ladder steps, etc.

PA infects the hair follicles on the body.

If infected, you will notice the following characteristics of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa:

  • Itchy rash 8 to 48 hours after contamination.
  • Rash can occur on arms, legs or trunk of body.
  • Rash disappears 7 to 10 days without treatment.

Perform the following procedure to treat the infected pool:

  1. Remove the filter (if Cartridge type) and soak in a solution of chlorine and water during treatment. (2 Tbsp of Chlorine/5 gallons of water)
  2. Shock with four times the normal dose of BioGuard Smart Shock, part of dosage may be added to the skimmer.  Remember to remove ANY chlorine tablets or sticks before adding Smart Shock to skimmer.
    Download a FREE brochure to learn about shocking.
  3. Circulate pool for 12 hours. The bacterial growth usually builds up in the lines, so it is necessary to flush them thoroughly. Clean & sanitize all pool areas & surfaces.
  4. Chemically clean (such as BioGuard® Strip Kwik®) and / or replace the filter .
  5. Rebalance pool. Do not enter pool until sanitizer level drops below 4.0 ppm.
  6. As an additional precaution, Par Pool & Spa STRONGLY RECOMMENDS cleaning the solar cover (if equipped) with BioGuard® Stow Away® (contains quarternary ammonium compounds, which when used properly controls mildew).  Clean your cover with Stow Away® at least 2 times per season.
  7. Using products such as AquaFinesse will continually remove the bio-film where about 99% of bacteria lives. Products such as Natural Chemistry Pool Perfect, contain natural enzymes that naturally "eat up" the greases & oils that feed the pseudomonas bacteria.
  8. Follow the 5 Keys to Pool Care for prevention.

Be sure to seek medical attention from a qualified doctor.  Do not self-diagnose ANY condition.  This page is provided for informational purposes ONLY.

For further information, please visit the Center for Disease Control website

Treatment of Spas & Hot tubs is similar.  Regularly clean by brushing & thoroughly wiping the suspected areas with approved cleaners or sanitizers (i.e. chlorinated pool water).  Click here for Spas & Hot Tubs.

Enforce shower rules before entering spa or pool.
Maintain 1-3 ppm Free Available chlorine in residual spas or pools and 3- 5 ppm in commercial spas or pools.

Information from:
BioLab, Inc.
Kenneth Todar, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Bacteriology
Image courtesy of Univ. Iowa Health Sciences, Copyright

If you still need help, here's how to reach us:

Telephone (during store hours): Shelton  203-377-0100


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