Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Hot tub folliculitis is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This form of bacteria survives in hot tubs, especially tubs made of wood. Controlling the acid and chlorine level in the water can limit the growth of the bacteria.
The first symptom of hot tub folliculitis is an itchy, bumpy, red rash. Symptoms can appear from several hours to 2 days after contact with the bacteria.
- Turn into dark red, tender
- Have bumps that fill with pus
- Look like acne
- Be thicker under swimsuit areas where the water has been in contact with the skin longer
People who shared the hot tub may have the same rash.
Signs and tests
Your health care provider can often make this diagnosis based on looking at the rash and knowing that you’ve been in a hot tub. Testing is usually not needed.
Treatment may not be needed. The mild form of the disease often clears on its own. Anti-itch medicines may be used to ease discomfort.
In severe cases, your health care provider may prescribe an antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin.
This condition usually clears without scarring. The problem may come back if you use the hot tub again before it has been cleaned.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of hot tub folliculitis.
Controlling the acid levels and chlorine content of the hot tub may help prevent the problem.