Folliculitis is one of the few skin conditions that are not really life threatening. Rather, it is annoying and aesthetically unpleasing.
If you are wondering what is folliculitis, the answer is obvious: it is an inflammation of the hair follicles, which is caused by several factors, such as infection, chemical irritation and physical injury.
Due to its diversity of causes, folliculitis can come in a variety of shapes and forms: bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic folliculitis. The most common variation of folliculitis is the bacterial form and from that large group, well known and spread is the form known by the large public as “hot tub folliculitis”.
Hot tub folliculitis has a peculiar name, to say the least. Actually, it gives a pretty excellent description of the condition itself. Hot tub folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles, due to a bacterial pathogen agent called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This sneaky and usually nonthreatening bacterium is not known for its virulent characteristics. That is because it generally does not cause any sort of illness. Unless it is given the right conditions to do so: more to the point, unless in warm and wet environments, it is innocent as a white pigeon.
However, once in a hot tub, a whirlpool, a water slide, a physiotherapy pool or a massage tub, Pseudomonas comes to infectious life and generates folliculitis. The most exposed to hot tub folliculitis are, not surprisingly, children and elderly men and women, since these categories of people spend a lot of time in warm water.
One thing that separates hot tub folliculitis from all the other forms of folliculitis is its non – contagious character. Unlike its fellows, it does not spread by skin – on – skin touching of the infected lesions, nor by sharing towels or clothes. However, those are still not recommended by any sort of hygiene specialist.
Hot Tub Folliculitis Rash
The only really annoying manifestation of hot tub folliculitis is a rash that itches like crazy. It presents itself in a series of small 0.5 inch red papules or wheals with a central pustule. Basically, the part of your skin that has come in direct and prolonged contact with the infected water will be filled with reddish and shiny disks that itch and will extend if you cannot stop yourself from touching them.
Also, you have to keep in mind that the areas of your body that have been covered with a bathing suit or a wet towel will most likely be the first ones to manifest the little swellings.
The rash, while discomforting and unaesthetic, is better left to heal on its own. If all goes normally, it should disappear in 7 to 10 days. (Hot Tub Rash Cure) The usual course of this diseases’ pathology is that following the disappearance of the rash, a slight hyper pigmentation will appear, leaving the skin a darker shade of pink or even red. This should resolve itself in several months.
Do not be frightened if you feel tired and unfocused in the first days from the apparition of the rash. It is normal. What is not common and it should be raise a question mark is fever. If your temperature elevates to unexpected values, you should contact a medical doctor immediately.
Hot Tub Folliculitis Treatment
The treatment for hot tub folliculitis is slightly unusual: in its more frequent forms, this type of folliculitis disappears on its own and does not require any sort of special treatment. ( 13 Natural Remedies For Folliculitis , Hot Tub Rash Cure) However, if your pustules do not disappear in about a week to 10 days, you must visit a dermatologist. This skin specialist will probably recommend you the following:
- Apply vinegar compresses to the affected areas for twenty minutes, two to four times per die.
- Silver sulfadiazine cream: it should be applied on the affected areas to help the dehydration of the pustules;
- Oral antibiotics (ciprofloxacin): the strongest of treatments, only needed for the resistant or widespread forms.
How to Prevent Hot Tub Folliculitis
There are some diseases out there that simply cannot be prevented. Hot tub folliculitis is not one of them. One thing you have to remember is that showering after contact with the infected water is not going to kill the pathogen agent. However, if you carefully follow these steps, you should be safer than most:
- Filter the water in your facilities continuously to eliminate dead skin.
- Monitor constantly the disinfectant levels.
- Change the water frequently.