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Why do I keep getting a rash after soaking??


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This has been an ongoing problem since December.  I will try to lay it out chronologically. The rash is worst at my under arms on both my arms and chest, but I also get it on my belly.

Long story short:

  1. Tub got nasty
  2. Was cold so brought water back to clear until dumping
  3. Purged 3 times and dumped with 50 ppm sanitizer
  4. still rash
  5. Ran mulitple days keeping sanitizer at 20-30 ppm to try and help knock out any colonies(did not use tub at this time)
  6. Purged 2 times with the second purge sitting overnight, sanitizer at 30 ppm.
  7. Drain and fill, same problem.

 

Hot tub is a bromine tub, Target numbers are PH <7.8, TA 50, Bromine 8ppm.  Tested with taylor reagent.  Sodium bromide to build reserve, 1" bromine floaters to help maintain.  Only use muriatic acid when lowering ph/ta.  Baking soda to raise if ever needed.  Bleach when shocking.

Mid December we had a gathering and the hot tub took a beating for about 4-5 hours of use.  I only added extra sanitizer towards the end. I am sure it was 0 for quite a while.  

Life took over and I forgot to give the tub any attention for about a week.  It was a murky foul smelling mess.  It was also 0 degrees outside and was going to be like that for a while.  I figured I will try to bring it back(knowing that as soon as I could I was going to dump it).  I started shocking with bleach, maybe 20 ppm bromine or so.  I also changed the filters(I have two sets). Over the next few days I brought it back clear.  It looked perfect, levels were good, I decided I would try soaking in it.  That night I had a rash under my arm pits on my arms and chest side.  This caused me to stop using the tub until I could change the water.

 

Jump forwards 2 weeks and it's just warm enough for a drain and fill.  I bumped the sanitizer up to 50 ppm and ran 1 Tbs of Ahh-Some through the tub. It was the same as I've seen in the past, some yellow slime on the walls but nothing drastic. I had enough to do it two more times, I did not drain the tub, just re added when the bubbles would die down(about 30 minutes).  Not much stuff at all came out on the last ahhsome.  I then drained the tub but since it was still below freezing I didnt vacuum out the jets or wipe down.  I refilled the tub, balanced the water out to my goal numbers above using only sodium bromide, bleach, muriatic acid.  Used the hot tub with 8 ppm bromine, got the rash again.  Funny thing, other people had used it and had not gotten any rashes from it.  My wife had used it twice.

 

In between I ran the sanitizer up to 30 and let it coast down to 20 for 3 days(knowing this is hard on the tub). Just in case I had some colonies somewhere that were depleting the sanitizer when the pumps werent running.  We didnt use the tub at these levels.

 

I decided there must still be stuff hiding in there.  I bought more ahhsome and treated.  First Tbs application, some muck came out but not much.  I then bumped sanitizer up to 30 and added a second application.  I ran the jets long enough to get it to disperse and shut tub off.  I came out ever hour or so and ran it for a few minutes.  At bed time I let it sit off overnight.  I ran it the next evening to stir up anything(did not see anything) and drained tub.  This time I vacuumed out the water and wiped the tub down.  Filters were also swapped to my other set.  Tub was refilled and water was balance with same procedure.

 

I STILL get a rash, but the family has no rash.  Last night the sanitizer was a little high, I read 10 PPM. I decided it would be fine and would drop fast since we didnt shower or or anything before.  When we got out of the tub sanitizer was still 3 PPM.  

My sanitizer demand is pretty low to me.  The floater sits at 3-4 on the number thing.

 

I am using the same chemicals I have been using for over a year.  Any idea what might be going on?  I know I need to see a doctor about it for real medical advice but nothing has changed with my tub and I feel like I've adequately purged it.

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1 minute ago, dashmer said:

If you have a sensitivity or allergic reaction you may want to consider switching to chlorine.  I have read that some people are bothered by bromine and not chlorine.

I’ve thought about this but this tub has been bromine for 1.5 years. I haven’t had an issue prior to this. 

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With all of the high sanitizer levels and purging, I doubt you have a bacterial problem, especially with no one else coming down with problem.  Next water change, try the dichlor then bleach method and see if your problem clears up.  No big investment to try it.  It is possible you developed a problem over time....

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On 4/20/2022 at 8:46 AM, d.sebens said:

This has been an ongoing problem since December.  I will try to lay it out chronologically. The rash is worst at my under arms on both my arms and chest, but I also get it on my belly.

Long story short:

  1. Tub got nasty
  2. Was cold so brought water back to clear until dumping
  3. Purged 3 times and dumped with 50 ppm sanitizer
  4. still rash
  5. Ran mulitple days keeping sanitizer at 20-30 ppm to try and help knock out any colonies(did not use tub at this time)
  6. Purged 2 times with the second purge sitting overnight, sanitizer at 30 ppm.
  7. Drain and fill, same problem.

 

Hot tub is a bromine tub, Target numbers are PH <7.8, TA 50, Bromine 8ppm.  Tested with taylor reagent.  Sodium bromide to build reserve, 1" bromine floaters to help maintain.  Only use muriatic acid when lowering ph/ta.  Baking soda to raise if ever needed.  Bleach when shocking.

Mid December we had a gathering and the hot tub took a beating for about 4-5 hours of use.  I only added extra sanitizer towards the end. I am sure it was 0 for quite a while.  

Life took over and I forgot to give the tub any attention for about a week.  It was a murky foul smelling mess.  It was also 0 degrees outside and was going to be like that for a while.  I figured I will try to bring it back(knowing that as soon as I could I was going to dump it).  I started shocking with bleach, maybe 20 ppm bromine or so.  I also changed the filters(I have two sets). Over the next few days I brought it back clear.  It looked perfect, levels were good, I decided I would try soaking in it.  That night I had a rash under my arm pits on my arms and chest side.  This caused me to stop using the tub until I could change the water.

 

Jump forwards 2 weeks and it's just warm enough for a drain and fill.  I bumped the sanitizer up to 50 ppm and ran 1 Tbs of Ahh-Some through the tub. It was the same as I've seen in the past, some yellow slime on the walls but nothing drastic. I had enough to do it two more times, I did not drain the tub, just re added when the bubbles would die down(about 30 minutes).  Not much stuff at all came out on the last ahhsome.  I then drained the tub but since it was still below freezing I didnt vacuum out the jets or wipe down.  I refilled the tub, balanced the water out to my goal numbers above using only sodium bromide, bleach, muriatic acid.  Used the hot tub with 8 ppm bromine, got the rash again.  Funny thing, other people had used it and had not gotten any rashes from it.  My wife had used it twice.

 

In between I ran the sanitizer up to 30 and let it coast down to 20 for 3 days(knowing this is hard on the tub). Just in case I had some colonies somewhere that were depleting the sanitizer when the pumps werent running.  We didnt use the tub at these levels.

 

I decided there must still be stuff hiding in there.  I bought more ahhsome and treated.  First Tbs application, some muck came out but not much.  I then bumped sanitizer up to 30 and added a second application.  I ran the jets long enough to get it to disperse and shut tub off.  I came out ever hour or so and ran it for a few minutes.  At bed time I let it sit off overnight.  I ran it the next evening to stir up anything(did not see anything) and drained tub.  This time I vacuumed out the water and wiped the tub down.  Filters were also swapped to my other set.  Tub was refilled and water was balance with same procedure.

 

I STILL get a rash, but the family has no rash.  Last night the sanitizer was a little high, I read 10 PPM. I decided it would be fine and would drop fast since we didnt shower or or anything before.  When we got out of the tub sanitizer was still 3 PPM.  

My sanitizer demand is pretty low to me.  The floater sits at 3-4 on the number thing.

 

I am using the same chemicals I have been using for over a year.  Any idea what might be going on?  I know I need to see a doctor about it for real medical advice but nothing has changed with my tub and I feel like I've adequately purged it.

D.sebens

i have been having similar issues.   One year ago, I bought Intex portable spa to test if my wife and I would really use it.    No jets, just bubbles.  First timer at this and the water quality was all over the map, but I never got any rash or itch. We used 4-5 times a week.  Last summer in August, we decided to get a full hot tub.  I have had all kinds of rashes, eczema outbreaks and a few really nasty infections that will leave marks for the rest of my life.   I have tried chlorine and bromine and am now going to try salt water.   What could have changed in one year?

one thing helped, I don’t use jets directly.  Every time I used jets, I get a rash where the jets hit.  When the temperature is over 100, I get a strong rash. Under 100 degrees and it is much less.
 

I bought The lamotte spin touch water tester and have learned a ton about water balancing but have yet to find a solution to my rashes.   As a side note, my blood sugar has been much higher than the prior year and I am sure this is a big contributor.

so I decided to start all over,  even though this is brand new tub.

1) drain tub and clean completely

2) Vaccuum out all water.

3)  fill tub FROM house water which has three stage filter with UV.

4)  Tested water.   Alkalinity and ph good, no metals, no cya, no phosphate.  added a little calcium to make water a little harder.  NO CHLORINE  or bromine was added or anything to adjust PH or TA. 
 

basically this was bath tub water.  Used same day for one hour with no jets, water temp 98 degrees and had  no reaction or rash.

After 1 hour of use with my wife.  put in 2 oz non chlorine shock.

tested water that night.   To my surprise, FC was still 0 but TC was 20 ppm and ph jumped from 7.6 to 8.4.    All I did was add non chlorine shock!  I waited till TC came down.

next morning TC was 2.   How can TC be 2 if I never added chlorine and it was 0 the day before and all I used was 2oz of non chlorine shock.

turns out non chlorine shock interferes with TC measurement and gives false readings. FC is not impacted.

so now with TC at 2 and adding a little ph decreaser of about 1 oz, I try tub again.  Temperature is 101.

Now, 3 days later, I am still itching like crazy, sleeping maybe an hour or two a night and covering myself with prescriptions from doctor to alleviate itch and rash. My wife had no reaction at all and was totally fine.

 

As an additional note.  I tested the water the morning after our last use and did not add any chemicals after the last use the night before.

Both FC and TC are back to 0.

The whole test period had no smell and crystal clear water.

 

my blood sugar has been between 200 and 350 Should be somewhere between 100 and 165. Now yesterday, I found out I got shingles so tub is out for awhile.   I would recommend you

1) check with a doctor.

2) keep temperature down below 100.

3) avoid direct jets.

4) shower immediately before and after with anti bacterial soap.

5) ensure swim wear and and robes are cleaned.  Chlorine and bromine do stick to clothes.

6) I found bromine to be less offensive, but had to turn off ozonator and up light. It seems to messes up free bromine.  Non chlorine shock had same interference effect as with chlorine. 2oz and TC jumps to 20.  2 days later, 4.0.  Free bromine always .02.  Could not tell how much bromides were in tub and Combined Chlorine/Bromine was all over the map from 0 to 30.  Could not get Free Chlorine/Bromine to get above .02 even when Total Chlorine/Bromine was also .02.  Was reading that UV light destroys bromine..

 

Starting all over again this week but switching to salt water chlorine generator with ozonator and uv light.

 I would love to hear anyones thoughts on this rash issue also.

 

john

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 4/22/2022 at 11:01 PM, Duke123 said:

 put in 2 oz non chlorine shock.

tested water that night.   To my surprise, FC was still 0 but TC was 20 ppm and ph jumped from 7.6 to 8.4.    All I did was add non chlorine shock!  I waited till TC came down.

LaMotte uses DPD to test sanitizer and MPS (non chlorine shock) will test as combined chlorine. This known interference is a limitation of DPD testing. Taylor does have a special reagent to remove the interference from MPS for use with their K-2005 (DPD) and K-2006 (FAS-DPD) test kits.

The jump in pH was an interference from the high level of MPS. The pH was not that high. In fact, MPS is acidic and your pH was prbably a bit lower than 7.6 at that point. Lesson here is to never test pH when sanitizer test indicates it is at or above 10 ppm (TC or TB).

On 4/22/2022 at 11:01 PM, Duke123 said:

Now, 3 days later, I am still itching like crazy

 MPS is a known sensitizer. Stop using it. IF you are using bromine then activate with chlorine, not MPS (I prefer liquid chlorine or plain, unscented laundry bleach (both are sodium hypochlorite, only difference is concentration with laundry beach usually 5.25%, 6%, or 8.25% and liquid chlorine 10% or 12.5%.

On 4/22/2022 at 11:01 PM, Duke123 said:

switching to salt water chlorine generator with ozonator and uv light

The generator produces sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Ozone destroys chlorine btw. Is your ozone unit UV-C or Corona Discharge? Is your UV a separate germicidal lamp or the UV in the ozone generator?

 

On 4/22/2022 at 11:01 PM, Duke123 said:

I would love to hear anyones thoughts on this rash issue also.

My guess is that it's from MPS.

 

On 4/22/2022 at 11:01 PM, Duke123 said:

 Every time I used jets, I get a rash where the jets hit.  When the temperature is over 100, I get a strong rash. Under 100 degrees and it is much less.
 

Dermatitis from hot water does happen in some individuals, it is a form of heat rash and can appear as small, itchy bumps or a generalized redness of the skin. There can be an underlying contributing medical condition.

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On 4/20/2022 at 10:54 AM, d.sebens said:
On 4/20/2022 at 10:51 AM, dashmer said:

If you have a sensitivity or allergic reaction you may want to consider switching to chlorine.  I have read that some people are bothered by bromine and not chlorine.

I’ve thought about this but this tub has been bromine for 1.5 years. I haven’t had an issue prior to this. 

Some people do react negatively to bromine. However, you will not have a reaction initially, You have to have repeated exposure before your immune system responds to a sensitizer so this would not be unusual.

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13 minutes ago, waterbear said:

What are you shocking the tub with, chlorine or MPS?

I use chlorine.  No mps on hand at all.  I have used cal hypo in the past to raise my hardness but no alternative sanitizers.  I do have ozone, the light still lights up but it is also 20 years old so I just assume it's not doing much.  I did consult my dr, he thinks it is a form of dermatitis and not foliculitus. It definitely looks like a rash when I get it.  Small red bumps, my arm pit are is clustered together as a full blown rash.  Other parts of my body just have random bumps.  When you say I wouldnt have a reaction initally, I have used the tub a lot for the past year.  Is it normal that say a year of use and it's just now showing up?

 

On a small veer off topic, if I switched to chlorine there is no recommended floater since trichlor keeps adding cya right?  I assume a SWG would be the correct way to "set it and forget it" on the days I am not using it?  I dont mind daily additions of chlorine to the pool, thats really easy since theres not cover.  Having to do it with the hot tub is a little bit more a pain when it's not used everyday. Also if I have developed a sensitivity to bromine, will lowering the level possibly help or is it's presence enough to upset my body?

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One needs expose to an allergen over time before one develops an allergy. How long it takes partially depends on how often and at what level you are exposed to the sensitizer.

Dermatitis from hot water does happen in some individuals, it is a form of heat rash and can appear as small, itchy bumps or a generalized redness of the skin. There can be an underlying contributing medical condition.

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9 minutes ago, d.sebens said:

On a small veer off topic, if I switched to chlorine there is no recommended floater since trichlor keeps adding cya right?  I assume a SWG would be the correct way to "set it and forget it" on the days I am not using it?  I dont mind daily additions of chlorine to the pool, thats really easy since theres not cover.  Having to do it with the hot tub is a little bit more a pain when it's not used everyday. Also if I have developed a sensitivity to bromine, will lowering the level possibly help or is it's presence enough to upset my body?

Trichor is generally not recommended for tubs because it is extremely acidic and can cause damage, not to mention the rise in CYA. SWCGs still need regular testing to make sure FC, CC, pH, and TA are in line. Also consider that if the tub is covered and not being used there is no or little sanitizer demand and, as long as you are testing and monitoring sanitizer levels weekly there is probably no need for daily additions of chlorine, unlike with an uncovered outdoor pool that is exposed to sunlight (even with CYA UV light breaks down chlorine) and organic matter falling into the pool (leaves, bugs, pollen, etc.) which also create a chlorine demand.

As far as allergies and sensitivities go, it's hard to say what the threshold is for a reaction. You might want to consult an allergist if it is determined that you do have a sensitivity to hypobroumous acid or bromide salts.

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3 minutes ago, waterbear said:

Trichor is generally not recommended for tubs because it is extremely acidic and can cause damage, not to mention the rise in CYA. SWCGs still need regular testing to make sure FC, CC, pH, and TA are in line. Also consider that if the tub is covered and not being used there is no or little sanitizer demand and, as long as you are testing and monitoring sanitizer levels weekly there is probably no need for daily additions of chlorine, unlike with an uncovered outdoor pool that is exposed to sunlight (even with CYA UV light breaks down chlorine) and organic matter falling into the pool (leaves, bugs, pollen, etc.) which also create a chlorine demand.

As far as allergies and sensitivities go, it's hard to say what the threshold is for a reaction. You might want to consult an allergist if it is determined that you do have a sensitivity to hypobroumous acid or bromide salts.

Thank you for that, the SWCG would just replace the floater if I went that route.  I still check on the tub before and after use and intermittently when not in use for long periods.  So with it being covered you think I could get by with weekly checks(assuming it wasnt used during that week) of chlorine?  What would my target be for CYA and chlorine level?

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If there is a bacteria in the Hot Tub, it will cause this to certain people, my wife does not use the tub any more, if she does she has to go on antibiotics. It does not bother me so far. I tried bromine, salt and still bothers her. I just use chlorine tablets and vinegar and baking soda and chlorine shock.

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