Public hot tubs & saunas? Look before you leap!

When you’re on vacation or hitting the gym, it’s such a great payoff to be able to hop into a hot tub or sauna as part of your reward. The key: make sure the tub or sauna you’re enjoying is safe and sanitary. Otherwise, you could be inviting trouble you don’t necessarily want!

If you’re heading out on vacation, and the hotel you’re staying in offers a hot tub or sauna, do some due diligence if you plan on enjoying them while you’re on the property. Call ahead and speak with someone at the hotel. Ask when the last time the tub was drained and filled, or when the sauna was shut down and sanitized. If they don’t have the answer, request that someone in maintenance do so before your arrival.

When you arrive at the hotel and decide it’s time for a soak, use your good sense(s), especially sight and smell. Does the hot tub water appear clean and clear? Is there a lot of foam in the water when the jets are running? Foam that remains sticky and doesn’t break up like normal bubbles from the water being aerated by the jets? How does the water smell?

I know some folks who actually (don’t laugh!) bring their own test strips with them when they travel. How else will you know for sure if the pH level is right in the water, or there is enough sanitizer present to handle the “stuff” we humans bring into hot water and leave behind.

Use the same common sense you would with food you’d eat: if it doesn’t look and smell good, then don’t partake.

The same rules apply for saunas. When you enter the sauna, does it smell healthy? Is the wood sweat stained, or does it look as if it has been sanitized recently? Always wear flip flops in a public sauna, to avoid picking up any…stray bacteria that can cause athlete’s foot or other fungal infections. And—in both cases—be sure you shower after a soak or sauna in a public facility.

These rules also apply to the gym you regularly visit for workouts. In fact, it’s smart to be more insistent that the hot tub you use at the gym is regularly drained and the water chemistry is in proper balance. The sweat and toxin flushing that result in good workouts elevate to a different level in a gym’s hot tub water!

You pay good money when you go on vacation for hotels, and you pay good money for your gym membership. Make sure you can enjoy the hot tubs and saunas in each case—safely.