A nice relaxing soak in your hot tub can be as good for your overall health as it is enjoyable. However, there's a limit to how long you can safely sit in water hotter than your core body temperature. So just how long constitutes too much of a good thing?
In this hot tub safety article, I'll run through some general guidelines and explain some of the medical conditions and personal health factors which influence how long you can use a hot tub without adverse effects.
How Long Can You Stay in a Hot Tub?
Risks of Staying in a Hot Tub Too Long
Most of the potential health risks of excessive hot tub use stem from the high water temperature. Hot tubs are generally maintained at around 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit, which is higher than the normal range for body temperatures.
A longer soak in hot tub temperature water can cause various problems relating to hyperthermia (increased body temperature). Here are some warning signs you should look out for.
If you start to feel dizzy or experience light-headedness while using a hot tub, it's usually a sign you may be starting to overheat.
Although not always directly related to heat exhaustion, dizziness often occurs as a result of intense heat and is a warning sign that you should exercise caution.
Ignoring early warning signs like dizziness can lead to more serious symptoms. If you start to feel nauseous it's a clear sign your soak time has exceeded safe limits. Get out of the tub, cool off, and drink plenty of water.
Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke
If you soak for too long in hot water, your core body temperature rises. This can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke, which is extremely dangerous. At the onset, it generally carries some of the symptoms already discussed, as well as red skin and mental confusion.
If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, getting them out of the hot tub water may not be sufficient. It is recommended you take steps to actively cool their body back to normal temperature as quickly as possible, such as a cold bath or putting them in a room with the aircon set to cold.
Redness of the skin can be a sign of heat stroke and should be taken seriously. However, some hot tub users with sensitive skin may find they experience a patchy reddening of the skin almost immediately after starting their hot tub sessions. If this is the case, try lowering the temperature to around 98 degrees (normal body temperature) before spending time in the hot tub.
Low Blood Pressure
The combination of warm temperatures and having your upper torso immersed in the hot tub water can lead to decreased blood pressure. Although this can be difficult to spot quickly without a blood pressure monitor, many of the symptoms are similar to those of overheating and include: light-headedness/dizziness, nausea, disorientation, sudden fatigue, and blurred vision.
It's vital to end your hot tub session immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
How Long Should My Hot Tub Sessions Be?
General Rule for Soak Times
There is no hard and fast rule limiting the amount of time a healthy adult can remain in a hot tub and be perfectly safe. That said, most manufacturers recommend hot tub owners at least take a break every 15-30 minutes. It's also important to drink water regularly so you don't end up dehydrated by the end of your hot tub experience.
However, there are several different factors (listed below) that may limit how long you can soak in a hot tub.
Need a Hot Tub?
Health Conditions Affecting Safe Duration
Pregnant women should avoid spending time in a water temperature above 102 degrees. Although hot tubs can be used to alleviate some discomfort surrounding pregnancy, significant caution should be exercised.
It is recommended that pregnant women spend no longer than 10 minutes in a hot tub at one time, even at lower temperatures.
Since hot tubs can affect blood pressure and other cardiovascular measures, anyone with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or other issues with the circulatory system should avoid hot tubs until they have consulted their physician.
Medications, drugs, and alcohol
It goes without saying you should not drink alcohol before using a hot tub. Drinking and/or taking drugs can make you drowsy and lead to a risk of drowning.
However, certain medications also carry a similar risk and even those which do not result in drowsiness can have side effects which are potentially problematic when using a hot tub. Seek advice from a suitable healthcare professional if you are taking any medicines.
Although there is no hard limit for healthy adults, children are recommended to spend no longer than 15 minutes in hot tubs with a water temperature of 98-102 degrees, and a maximum of 5 minutes at higher temperatures around 104 degrees.
Final Thoughts - Are Hot Tubs Safe?
As long as you pay attention to hot tub safety, a relaxing soak can be perfectly safe and even highly therapeutic.
Drink plenty of water, keep track of your soak times, get out if you feel any adverse effects, keep electronic devices well away from the hot tub, and avoid using the hot tub under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Follow these simple rules and you can use a hot tub safely every single day.
If you're thinking of getting a hot tub of your own, fill out the form below. It's a great way to get personally tailored quotes on the best available bargains from local hot tub dealers.
About The Author
Full-time staff writer at wyllz.com and stay-at-home mom.