Whirlpools--also known as spas or hot tubs---provide hot-water treatment that is both relaxing and stress reducing. However, they are not for everybody. Soaking in a whirlpool raises body temperature, sometimes dangerously, according to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP). Because of this, use of a whirlpool is contraindicated for some individuals.
The industry standard for safe water temperature for adults is 40 degrees C, according to SpaDepot.com. However, this temperature is not safe for children. Children should not soak in water more than 35 degrees C and soaking time should not exceed 10 minutes. The SpaDepot website also recommends that you check with your paediatrician to determine if these recommendations are safe for your child.
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) warns pregnant women not to use whirlpools. Studies have shown that hyperthermia--abnormally high body temperature--increases the risk of birth defects. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels in just 10 minutes in a whirlpool, according to the APA.
The APSP says that whirlpools present similar dangers to adults who have heart disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure or any other illness that increases a person's sensitivity to hot water. You should always check with your physician for specific guidelines if you are diagnosed with one of these diseases.
Due to the risk of spreading infection, the APSP also recommends those with open wounds stay out of hot tubs. In addition to the possibility that you could introduce bacteria into the water, your open wound also puts you at risk for being infected by bacteria that may be in the water.
Never use a whirlpool while under the influence of alcohol. "The ultimate danger of combined alcohol consumption and hot water soaking is drowning due to loss of consciousness, heart attack or injury due to passing out and falling," says the APSP.