Council issues hot tub health warning over deadly Legionnaire’s Disease infection risk

Coun Moira Smith.
Coun Moira Smith.

A health alert has been issued to residents in South Tyneside about the risks of using hot tubs - which include contracting potentially-deadly Legionnaire’s Disease.

Following reports of a number of skin rashes and infections, South Tyneside Council is encouraging people who use hot tubs to follow advice issued recently by the North East Public Protection Partnership.

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “Hot tub popularity continues to grow and can be a fun addition to parties and celebrations.

"However, if not used and maintained correctly, they provide the right conditions for the growth and spread of infectious agents, some of which can cause serious illnesses such as Legionnaire’s Disease.”

Anyone considering hiring or buying a hot tub is encouraged to do research and observe the following tips:

- Use a reputable company operating from an identifiable business address

- Ask if the hot tub provided is suitable for hire. It should be a commercial, not domestic, grade

- Ask questions about how the company maintains, cleans and disinfects the hot tubs. A reputable company will carry out independent microbiological sampling to check that their disinfection programme is effective.

- When the hot tub arrives, make sure it is visibly clean and that you have been provided with clean filters and a chemical disinfectant to keep the water safe.

- Bathers should use the toilet and shower before going in the tub and not wear lotions, oils, make up or skin creams.

- Bathers should not use the hot tub if they have had diarrhoea within the last 14 days.

- The water in the tub should not be swallowed. Hot tubs are not suitable for children under four years old and others who are unable to keep their faces out of the water

- It is recommended that the hot tub should not be used for more than 15 minutes at a time

- The maximum number of people permitted in the hot tub should not be exceeded.

- Babies’ nappies must not be changed beside the hot tub.

- Do not eat, drink or smoke in the tub

- Pregnant women are advised to consult their doctor before using a hot tub.

- Shower after using the hot tub and dry your ears.

Residents who have any questions or concerns about hot tubs should consult a doctor for medical advice or contact South Tyneside Council’s environmental health team on (0191) 427 7000 or email environmentalh@southtyneside.gov.uk