How Long Can You Stay in a Hot Tub Before It Does You Any Harm?

Here, we will delve into the recommended time for taking a hot tub, what factors to consider and why you shouldn't stay in a hot tub for too long.
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Last updatedLast updated: August 31, 2021
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According to PKData Trusted Source U.S. Hot Tub Market YE 2019 After six years of slow but steady growth, hot tub sales decreased about 9% during 2019 www.pkdata.com , the sales of hot tubs have remained steady for the past six years. A hot tub can be a great way to relax and if you’re considering joining the growing group of homeowners who own one, there are some things you need to know. In addition to basic cleaning and maintenance, you also need to answer the question: how long can you stay in a hot tub?

While you may love the idea of spending your days off lazing in your new hot tub, would this be too long and what are the risks? Here we’ll explore this topic in more detail, so you can relax with confidence. 

Why shouldn’t you stay in a hot tub too long?

While there are numerous benefits of soaking in a hot tub, including stress relief and alleviating tired, aching muscles, there are some drawbacks if you stay in even the best soaking tub for too long. 

Many experts recommend that you limit your hot tub soaking time to less than 30 minutes.
If you stay longer, you could experience a number of symptoms and issues including:

Dehydration

How Long Can You Stay in a Hot Tub Before It Does You Any Harm?
You may notice you feel dizzy, sleepy or disorientated. You may also find that you feel very thirsty. You will need to slowly drink water to replenish your fluid levels. However, in the case of severe dehydration, you may need to consult a doctor. 

Overheating

The symptoms of overheating are a little like sunstroke. You may experience headaches, dizziness, skin tingling, and a low pulse. You may also sweat excessively or not sweat at all. While it is tempting to go straight into a cold shower if you experience these symptoms, you should avoid going from the heat of a hot tub to a super cold shower or indoor environment. It is far better to gradually lower your body temperature and slowly drink water. 

Skin rashes

There is actually a specific rash linked to hot tubs. Hot tub folliculitis is a skin infection of the hair follicles and you may notice itchy red bumps on the skin that has been submerged in the water. You can minimize the risk of skin rashes by ensuring the water chemistry is correct, but the longer you sit in your hot tub, the more chances there are of skin irritation. 

Blood pressure drops

Sitting in your hot tub for too long can also cause you to experience a drop in blood pressure. This can cause dizziness, blurry vision, nausea and confusion. You may also start to feel faint or vomit. 

Factors to consider

Of course, there is no hard and fast number for how long should you stay in a hot tub. There are a number of factors you will need to consider to work out the optimum time for you. These factors include:

The temperature outside

If it is cold outside, your body is likely to cool more quickly, particularly if you prefer not to sit fully submerged. This means that you will feel comfortable staying longer in your hot tub. However, the reverse can apply, as on a hot day, you are likely to overheat more quickly and get dehydrated. 

Your age

How Long Can You Stay in a Hot Tub Before It Does You Any Harm?

Generally, you need to be cautious using a hot tub if you are a senior. Likewise, hot tubs can cause issues for young children. Children are more vulnerable to the hot temperatures and so should soak for no longer than five minutes at a time. Older children may be able to tolerate the hot temperatures for up to fifteen minutes, but you should monitor them carefully. In the case of seniors, they may be more vulnerable to infections from improperly treated hot tub water. 

Your overall health

If you’re generally in good shape, you are likely to be able to stay in a hot tub for longer without any issues. However, if you have blood pressure issues, a heart condition or other conditions, you should check with your doctor, who can advise you of the temperature and times you should adhere to for hot tub safety. 

If you’re pregnant

According to the Mayo Clinic Trusted Source Pregnancy and hot tubs: What's the risk? - Mayo Clinic Pregnancy and hot tubs can be a risky combination. Spending more than 10 minutes in a hot tub can raise your body temperature higher than 101 F (38.3 C). Limited research has shown a small increased risk of neural tube defects — serious abnormalities of the brain or spinal cord — in the babies of women who have fevers during early pregnancy. www.mayoclinic.org , pregnancy and hot tubs don’t really mix. There are some studies that suggest that increasing the core temperature in early pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage or even contribute to fetal abnormalities. So, if you suspect you may be pregnant, it is best to err on the side of caution. 

Your physicality

In addition to your overall health, your physical makeup can play a role in how long you can stay in a hot tub. Typically, women can withstand heat more easily than men due to their body composition and muscle mass. 

How deep you submerge your body

If you prefer to soak all the way to your neck, there will be less exposed skin for the heat to escape. This means that you will be more vulnerable to heat build up and will only be able to tolerate the hot tub for a shorter period. Conversely, if you only sit waist deep, the heat will more easily dissipate, so you can soak for longer. 

The water temperature

Finally, you need to consider the water temperature. The factory setting on the best plug and play hot tubs is often 104ºf, but this may reduce your soaking time. If you prefer to stay in your hot tub for longer, you may prefer to drop the temperature to 98ºf. If you are not wholly confident about your hot tub settings, you could always use a digital water thermometer to verify the temperature and ensure that you stay safe.  

Hot tub safety tips

If you want to make the most of the best whirlpool tubs, we have some safety tips. These will minimize the risk of issues and allow you to relax and enjoy using your hot tub.  

Check with your doctor

How Long Can You Stay in a Hot Tub Before It Does You Any Harm?

If you have any health conditions that may be affected by heat, you should ask your doctor to confirm it’s safe for you to use a hot tub. 

Ensure it’s maintained

Whether you’re using your own hot tub or one at your local gym, you need to ensure that the pH, chlorine and other water chemistry levels are correct. You should never use a hot tub that has murky looking water or visible debris. 

Turn down the temp

The factory setting on reputable models like the Essentials 30 Jet Adelaide hot tub is often 100ºf, which is optimal for healthy adults. It is possible to increase the temp to 104º, but this will limit how long you can stay in a hot tub.  

Stay hydrated

Be sure to drink water while you’re soaking to help avoid dehydration. It will also help you to cool down. 

Don’t go hot to cold

You shouldn’t jump straight into the pool to cool off from the hot tub. This could shock your body and cause a spike in your blood pressure. 

Watch the clock

When you’re relaxing, it can be easy to forget the time, so if you don’t want to soak for too long, keep an eye on the clock or set a timer. 

FAQ

Should I use my hot tub if I feel ill?

If you have a mild fever or feel a little ill, you may be tempted to try to “sweat it out” and raise your body temperature to kill the infection. However, this is not advisable, as you could exacerbate the issue. So, stick to soaking in your hot tub when you feel well. 

Is it safe for children to stay in a hot tub?

According to the CDC Trusted Source Hot Tub/Spa User Information | Healthy Swimming | Healthy Water | CDC Brochures about healthy swimming and recreational water, including recreation water illnesses (RWI), contaminated water, water-related injuries or risks such as drowning, entrapment, or skin cancer, cryptosporidium, model aquatic health code, boating, pools and spas, pool and spa design and operation guidelines, legionellosis, pool disinfection, water quality indicators, beach monitoring, diarrhea, chlorine disinfection, sun protection, certified pool spa inspector training, fecal contamination, lakes, rivers, outbreaks, lifeguard training, and chlorine disinfection. www.cdc.gov , children under the age of five should not use a hot tub. For children over this age, you should monitor them carefully and ensure that they don’t remain in the hot tub for longer than five to fifteen minutes. 

Can I drink alcohol in my hot tub?

Although it may be common, it is usually a bad idea to drink alcohol in hot tubs. Alcohol can not only speed up the process of dehydration and overheating, but it also makes it more likely that you may slip and fall. Heavy drinking may also cause you to pass out and be at risk of drowning. 

If you do want to enjoy a cocktail as you soak, be sure to drink plenty of water, lower the temperature of your hot tub and set a timer so you don’t stay in too long. 

Final thoughts

Hot tubs can be a great way to soothe away the stresses of the day or have a relaxing time with family or friends. However, it is important to stay safe and a key factor in this is how long can you stay in a hot tub. 

Remember that everyone is different, so familiarizing yourself with the factors that impact your risk of overheating and dehydration is crucial. Once you are aware of your limits and can make the necessary adjustments to the temperature and conditions, you can make the most of your hot tub and soak away your troubles.

References

1.
U.S. Hot Tub Market YE 2019
After six years of slow but steady growth, hot tub sales decreased about 9% during 2019
2.
Pregnancy and hot tubs: What's the risk? - Mayo Clinic
Pregnancy and hot tubs can be a risky combination. Spending more than 10 minutes in a hot tub can raise your body temperature higher than 101 F (38.3 C). Limited research has shown a small increased risk of neural tube defects — serious abnormalities of the brain or spinal cord — in the babies of women who have fevers during early pregnancy.
3.
Hot Tub/Spa User Information | Healthy Swimming | Healthy Water | CDC
Brochures about healthy swimming and recreational water, including recreation water illnesses (RWI), contaminated water, water-related injuries or risks such as drowning, entrapment, or skin cancer, cryptosporidium, model aquatic health code, boating, pools and spas, pool and spa design and operation guidelines, legionellosis, pool disinfection, water quality indicators, beach monitoring, diarrhea, chlorine disinfection, sun protection, certified pool spa inspector training, fecal contamination, lakes, rivers, outbreaks, lifeguard training, and chlorine disinfection.
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