Soaking in a hot tub has many health benefits, but the American Red Cross warns that there is a higher risk of nausea, dizziness, and fainting if you spend more than 15 minutes in a hot tub. This is because it takes a while for your body to acclimate to the heat generated by a hot tub, as you can absorb a lot of heat during that time.
When you soak in a hot tub for longer than 15 minutes, you risk dehydration, exhaustion, electrolyte imbalances, and even distress to your cardiovascular system.
What Affects How Long You Can Soak in the Hot Tub?
There’s no strict rule on how long you can spend in the hot tub, but there are guidelines that include knowing factors that may increase your risk of harm. Let’s look at some of these factors outlined below.
The Temperature of the Hot Tub
The hot tub’s temperature can have the most influence on how long you can safely soak. Sitting in 98-degree water probably won’t bother you since that’s about the same as your average body temperature. However, the difference will be felt if you raise the temperature by two to four degrees.
It’s common knowledge that sweat is the body’s natural way of cooling down. However, perspiration becomes increasingly difficult and requires more water intake as external temperatures hit triple digits.
When this happens, the body’s internal temperature rises because the heat is trapped inside and cannot escape. Avoid this by always having a bottle of water nearby when you soak. Dehydration follows shortly after.
Another determinant of how long you can sit in the hot tub is your current physical fitness and overall health.
For instance, pregnant women shouldn’t soak in hot tubs longer than 10 minutes and should avoid those hotter than 102 degrees. Those with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or circulatory difficulties should consult their doctors before using a hot tub.
Anyone on prescription medicine, especially sleep aids or blood thinners, must check with their doctor before getting in a hot tub.
You can safely soak in water heated to 102 degrees for however long, provided you are healthy and not pregnant, as long as you are comfortable.
Children under 12 should only soak for a maximum of five minutes at 104 degrees. Longer soaks of up to 15 minutes are acceptable when the water temperature is between 98 to 104 degrees. However, these rules do not apply to healthy kids.
One effective safety measure to prevent children from getting their entire bodies wet in the hot tub is by having them use elevated “jump seats” to keep most of their upper bodies out of the water.
Hot tub seats are positioned at different heights so that you can move around and cool other body parts. Sitting at the lowest level for at least 15 minutes causes your body temperature to rise far quicker than if you went to a seat where your upper body was out of the water. You can extend the hot tub time limit by moving around and switching to different seat depths.
Dangers of a Prolonged Soak
Observing your physical responses is the most reliable way to know when you’ve spent too much time in the hot tub. Look out for these potential warning signs:
Lightheadedness or Dizziness
A feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness during a bath could indicate that your body temperature is higher than you think. Take a few minutes to cool off outside.
Most people don’t realize they’re overheating until it’s too late and they’re physically ill. Knowing the warning signs can help you avoid letting your body get to that stage. The following are some warning signs of overheating:
- Tingling skin sensation
- Weakness or fatigue
- A higher or lower heart rate
- Sweating heavily or not at all
If you experience these symptoms, get out of the water and into a cool, dry place. Stay hydrated and aware of your physical state. Call emergency services if your condition worsens.
Vomiting and Nausea
Extreme heat can trigger nausea and vomiting. Nausea is another indicator that you should get out of the tub and drink lots of cool fluids, even if you don’t think the symptoms are related to heatstroke.
While redness and burning may indicate that you have sensitive skin, they are also warning signs that it’s time to leave the hot tub. Even if it’s just a heat rash, it indicates your body is overheating and needs cooling.
Blood Pressure Drops
If you don’t have a blood pressure monitor with you, it can be hard to tell if your blood pressure is dropping. If your blood pressure drops too low, though, your body begins to send out warning signals. Most of the signs are identical to those of overheating:
- Blurred vision
- Having trouble focusing
In severe cases of hypotension, the patient may experience confusion, quick and shallow breathing, and a rapid or weak pulse. Leave the hot tub right away if you feel like your blood pressure is dropping.
What Is the Recommended Soak Time?
This information helps to decide what to do in most “if-then” scenarios. For instance, what if you’re perfectly healthy and can soak for 30 minutes without any effects? Can you stay in the tub as long as you like? Basically, yes. However, it is wise to take precautions and establish rules for yourself.
We don’t want to ruin your good time, but we advise you to take a break from your hot tub every 15 to 30 minutes. These are only some general suggestions, and they may change depending on the weather, your current state of health, among other variables.
You should soak for as long as you feel you need to relax. You’re alright if you feel fine. If, however, you start to experience symptoms such as lightheadedness, nausea, or any other change in state that is not normal, you should get out of the tub and drink some water.
As you consider the appropriate hot tub temperature, know that Ajax Pool and Spa products are the best way to take care of your hot tub and ensure a serene body, mind, and environment. Browse our high-quality hot tubs, accessories, genuine replacement parts, user-friendly hot tub water maintenance chemicals, and more!
Please call us at 970-279-5253 or text us at 239-225-8626 to share your details and preferences. We’ll prepare a price quote and model recommendations for you!