Hot tub folliculitis is also technically known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa folliculitis or sometimes just folliculitis. It is one of the most common types of folliculitis. In this condition the affected hair follicles becomes inflamed. This mostly happens due to infection of the follicles. Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium is the one that causes the infection of hair follicles. The reason why the condition is called hot tub folliculitis is that because these types of bacteria are found in hot tubs, water slides and other water places, etc. Children are said to be more vulnerable to the condition than adults as they like water activities more and would remain in water longer than adults.
Hot tub folliculitis is manifested on the skin and appears similar to rashes which may roughly resemble chicken pox. These rashes may later aggravate and appear like acne filled pimples. These dermatologic manifestations can be extremely painful and itchy. Scratching these rashes may aggravate the condition and it may take longer time to cure. If this condition is aggravated it will persist for longer time and may metastasize to other body regions. Usually these spots go away in around 7 to 10 days from affliction; however, the condition will leave a hyper-pigmented region which may lasts for few months.
Symptoms of Hot tub folliculitis
There are certain signs and symptoms that are associated with hot tub folliculitis. These symptoms may vary according to the kind of infection. In case of superficial folliculitis the upper portion of hair follicle is affected. The hair follicle may be surrounded with clusters of tiny pus-filled bumps which may appear reddish in color. These pus filled blisters may break open or crust over. Superficial folliculitis can also cause inflammation of the skin and redness. Itchiness and tenderness may be sometimes experienced. Aforementioned symptoms may also be present in case of hot tub folliculitis. Some other symptoms that may appear due to the condition include bumps on skin regions. These pimples may turn into dark-red nodules. Associated boils may appear more or less like acne. These rashes are intense in the swimsuit covered area wherein the water was in contact with the body for longer time. People who shared the water pool may have same kind of infection. If the type of folliculitis was deep it may lead to larger bumps which may leave scar after healing. Causes of Hot tub folliculitis Folliculitis is caused when hair follicles become infected by bacteria, fungi or even viruses. The most common bacterium that causes folliculitis is Staphylococcus aureus bacterium. The amount of hair follicles is highest on the scalp but the condition can also affect other skin regions. However, hot tub folliculitis does not occur on sole, palm, lips, fingers, etc. Damaged follicles on the skin are especially suspicious to bacterial invasion. Common causes of follicles damages that makes you prone to this condition includes:
- Shaving associated wear and tear
- Friction caused due to tight clothes
- Excessive sweating
- Inflammatory conditions of the skin such as acne and dermatitis
- Skin injuries like surgical wounds and abrasions
Damages are also caused due to sticky covering on your skin such as consistently attached plastic for days or even adhesive tape used to cover wounds.
Tests and Diagnosis
Hot tub folliculitis is primarily evaluated by your doctor physically by looking at the affected skin region. When standard diagnosis cannot rule out the condition then your doctor will suggest further tests that may include biopsy of skin. In this scenario the expert will take a small skin sample and send it to laboratory for examination. This is done especially when the doctor suspects eosinophillic folliculitis.
Treatment for Hot Tub Rash
In some cases wherein the condition is mild, treatment is not required. There are good chances that the skin may get cured without medical intervention. However, if the disorder is persistent or recurring then it may need treatment which will depend on the type of the condition and severity. Your doctor may suggest antibiotics which is first line of treatment, especially in case of staphylococcal infection. These antibiotics will be in form of oral medicine or topical creams. He may also suggest avoiding shaving or wearing tight clothes. In case if shaving is crucial then use electric shaver or sanitized razors every time. If the condition is pseudomonas folliculitis then it rarely needs treatment. However, in order to control the symptoms your doctor may prescribe oral or topical medicines. Also in case of Pseudofolliculitis barbae, usually self-care measures and home treatment can cure the condition. In case of fungal infection doctor usually prescribed antifungal medicines along with other drugs to alleviate symptoms. In case of recurring hot tub folliculitis you may be suggested to use topical solution in long term. Sometimes some cases of bacteria caused hot tub folliculitis may not respond to the treatment. In such a case, the doctor may change the treatment regimen and use other medicine.