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Care for your Spa or Hot tub 6 Keys of Spa Care Chlorine-Bromine Spa Start Up Chlorin-bromine maintenance Soft Soak Start up & Maintenance Pristine Blue Spa Care AquaFinesse for Spas & Hot tubs Nature2 for Spas Spa Frog Swim Spa care Spa & Hot tub chemistry questions Purge, drain & refill spa or hot tub Spa Hot tub Water Balance Spa Biofilms Foaming, cloudy water Odors Spa Water Mold Spa water illlness, rashes Text Box: Spa & Hot Tub Care

Spa & Hot tub Care, Tips, Information

Recreational Water Illnesses - Pseudomonas Aeruginosa (Aurigenosa)
This is a commonly occurring bacteria found in water and soil.  Listed as an "opportunistic bacteria" that can cause: Urinary Tract Infections

The rash that you see below is NOT an "allergic reaction" to chlorine or bromine. It is true that some (and we mean a very few) people may be hyper-sensitive to chlorine or bromine, but will normally not result in lasting symptoms as shown below. Click here for further information.

  • 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 Spas & Hot tubs, 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).

For this reason, it is necessary to Purge, Drain & Refill your spa on a regular basis, regardless of the condition or appearance of the water. Purging helps to remove most of the accumulated biofilms from the spa's surfaces where PA can hide & thrive. Click on the aforementioned links for details.

In swimming pools, PA can be found on various areas such as pool coping, waterfall edges, ladder steps, swim-outs, 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 spa or hot tub:
  1. Purge, Drain & Refill the spa in preparation of a Hyper-chlorination treatment.
  2. Drain the spa and refill just above the jets.
  3. Remove the filter and soak in a solution of chlorine and water during treatment. (2 Tbsp of Chlorine/5 gallons of water)
  4. Shock with four times the normal dose of Stabilized Chlorinating Granules.
  5. Turn on the jets and circulate for 2 - 3 hours. The bacterial growth usually builds up in the lines, so it is necessary to flush them thoroughly.
  6. Drain the spa again and refill with fresh water.
  7. Chemically clean (such as SpaGuard® Filter Cleaner®) and / or replace the filter .
  8. Rebalance spa and shock. Do not enter spa until sanitizer level drops below 4.0 ppm.
  9. As an additional precaution, Par Pool & Spa STRONGLY RECOMMENDS cleaning the underside of the spa or hot tub insulating cover with BioGuard® Stow Away® (contains quarternary ammonium compounds, which when used properly controls mildew).  Clean your cover with Stow Away® whenever you drain, clean & refill your spa or hot tub.
  10. Using products such as AquaFinesse will continually remove the bio-film where about 99% of bacteria lives. Products such as Naturally Pure Spa, contain natural enzymes that naturally "eat up" the greases & oils that feed the pseudomonas bacteria.
  11. Follow the 6 Keys of Spa Care for prevention.
Be sure to seek medical attention from a qualified doctor.  Do not self-diagnose ANY skin or health condition.  This page is provided for informational purposes only.

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

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.

For further information, please visit our Knowledge Base

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

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

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

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



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