New owners, one of us gets a rash every time

ryadre

Member
Sep 8, 2019
21
New Zealand
Hi all, we have bought a house with an existing 1200 litre (300 gallon?) hot tub that hadn't been used for a few years.

We are a family of five - but myself (husband) get a rash every time I use the pool. We have had the pool running for maybe a month so far. Originally the rash was back of knees, waistline, under arms and was quite unbearable, now the rash seems to be mainly just my waistline and behind knees with only a little under arms. I have never had a problem like this from a pool in my life. I do have slight sensitive skin over certain time of year though. I get the rash about 5 hours later after using the pool (in the middle of the night) and then it clears up after a couple days.

We have had the kids friends over at different times, so maybe 15 different people but I am the only one who gets this rash.

We first set the pool up with help, using a bromine/dichlor product from the guy who replaced our controller etc, I got the rash from day one. My wife was daily down to the pool shop to have water tested to get it balanced. I even got the rash when the bromine was at 0.

We then switched to straight dichlor thinking it may have been the bromine, (without draining the pool) but still have the same issue. The stabliser level is currently betwen 50 and 100 on the strips, but as I say I got a rash straight away with the clean treated water. We would add 2 or 3 teaspoons of dichlor after use at night, and by the next day the levels are minimal.

As a test we went to a public swimming pool and hot tub, and I didnt get the rash. We talked to the pool maintenance guy and he said the pool was treated with sodium hypochorlite? Which is bleach I think. We had test strips with us and the chlorine was really low anyway.

We have even just let the pool go a couple days without adding any dichlor and I still got a rash (although I went in the morning and didnt get any rash until later that night which is longer than usual.

Not sure where to go to from here. Do we drain the pool and switch to a bleach system, or an expensive sensitive skin non chlorine product? Or am I reacting to something in the ph/ alkaline products? We didnt think it would be the bacteria hot tub rash you read about, as I am the only one affected and its not big sores or anything, just red itchy skin which then leaves some small hive type bumps in some areas. We just dont want to drain and reheat the pool and do the wrong thing so are after ideas.

Also as a side note I notice lately the pool really foams up like a bubble bath when the jets are on.
 

lazygirl1978

Gold Supporter
Oct 20, 2018
195
Missouri
Yikes, that’s a new one for me. I bet someone here will have an idea for you, but my first thought was that you should try the Ahhhsome product you read about on this forum to clean out your hottub. I’ve never used it but I will when it’s time for a deep clean.

I do wonder if you could be sensitive to bromine or some byproduct. Have you ever been in another bromine tub? If you do switch to chlorine, I think the advice will be to use the Ahhsome product too! Good luck and please keep us posted. Hoping someone chimes in soon.
 
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ryadre

Member
Sep 8, 2019
21
New Zealand
Forgot to mention, we have used a spa cleaning product, and then dumped the water and new filters. I also wiped down the shell with some bleach. Reading up I wonder if we arent using enough chlorine due to a high CYA level (strips read between 50-100), but then that doesnt explain the initial issues from the start.
I havent been in bromine before (the product was bromine/chorline combo I think), but we did switch to dichlor (without draining) to see if it helped.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,728
Northern NJ
You have to use a process of elimination starting with fresh water and see if you get a rash with no chemicals added. Then dump that water and refill and add one chemical at a time and get in and see if the rash occurs. Unfortunately you are the human test subject.
 

ryadre

Member
Sep 8, 2019
21
New Zealand
You have to use a process of elimination starting with fresh water and see if you get a rash with no chemicals added. Then dump that water and refill and add one chemical at a time and get in and see if the rash occurs. Unfortunately you are the human test subject.
Hmm, yea that was a thought we had, will be a time consuming effort seeing as I dont get the rash until hours later
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,005
The time delay points to bacteria. Chemical sensitivity is immediate.

I would do the Ahhsome and then keep the cya to less than 40.

You need a good test kit with fasdpd.

Maintain the chlorine more consistently.
 

ryadre

Member
Sep 8, 2019
21
New Zealand
The time delay points to bacteria. Chemical sensitivity is immediate.

I would do the Ahhsome and then keep the cya to less than 40.

You need a good test kit with fasdpd.

Maintain the chlorine more consistently.
Thanks, yea might have to start again from scratch
 

ryadre

Member
Sep 8, 2019
21
New Zealand
The time delay points to bacteria. Chemical sensitivity is immediate.

I would do the Ahhsome and then keep the cya to less than 40.

You need a good test kit with fasdpd.

Maintain the chlorine more consistently.
From what I read it sounds like bacterial takes over 24 hours, and chemical is under 12 hours?
 

ryadre

Member
Sep 8, 2019
21
New Zealand
So had a spa last night, and the rash came up again obviously, mainly around the back of legs and buttocks where my shorts are, with a tiny bit under arms. We have ordered the Ahhsome product today, so will give the pool a good clean out, then will probably go with dichlor to bleach and see how I go.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
313
Corona de Tucson, AZ
You can always try patches of dilute chemicals like you would take an allergy test from a doctor, but "it's hasn't been used in a log time" and "Rash" together is a pretty good indicator of Biofilm. Also you can't really switch a Bromine spa over to chlorine without draining.. the chlorine just oxidizes the bromamines, and the chlorine is lost.

See if your rash looks like this: Spa pool folliculitis | DermNet NZ if so then it's likely that a few passes with Ahhsome and then maybe a strong SLAM would probably be the solution.

If the rash is different than that, then you could be allergic, but that is rare according to everything I have read on the subject.

Good luck with it.
 

ryadre

Member
Sep 8, 2019
21
New Zealand
You can always try patches of dilute chemicals like you would take an allergy test from a doctor, but "it's hasn't been used in a log time" and "Rash" together is a pretty good indicator of Biofilm. Also you can't really switch a Bromine spa over to chlorine without draining.. the chlorine just oxidizes the bromamines, and the chlorine is lost.

See if your rash looks like this: Spa pool folliculitis | DermNet NZ if so then it's likely that a few passes with Ahhsome and then maybe a strong SLAM would probably be the solution.

If the rash is different than that, then you could be allergic, but that is rare according to everything I have read on the subject.

Good luck with it.
Thanks, yea the rash definitely isnt sores like in the photos, its mainly just red and very tiny raised bumps. It is kind of strange that originally I had it bad down my arms as well, but now the worst of it is where my shorts are. So anyway we have decided to go with the pool cleaner and new water first and start from there. I also wondered about the Bromine, but it wasnt a straight Bromine like I read about, it was a bromine/chlorine product? And the bromine levels were down to nothing so that why we tried just going straight chlorine as an easy trial to see if it was the bromine. Come to think of it I think the worst rashes I had was when we were using the Bromine product, so whether its possible there are remnants in the water that can still be causing issue now?? We had new filters installed at that time as well, so whether a clean of those in the dishwasher would help to get rid of any?
 

Ahhsomeguy

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 26, 2016
105
Vero Beach, Florida
You have Hot Tub Folliculitis. Purge your plumbing with an effective plumbing and jet cleaner. This is caused because you have Pseudomonas Aeruginosa bacteria in your plumbing. Even high concentrations of sanitizer will NOT eliminate it. It is inside a Biofilm. Forget about dishwasher cleaning of filters. There is more fungi and thermophillic bacteria inside your dishwasher than you can imagine. Just purge your plumbing regularly. It is absolutely amazing how easy it is to purge periodically and how so few dealers and manufacturers recommend doing so. Your situation is one we see every single day.
 

lazygirl1978

Gold Supporter
Oct 20, 2018
195
Missouri
You have Hot Tub Folliculitis. Purge your plumbing with an effective plumbing and jet cleaner. This is caused because you have Pseudomonas Aeruginosa bacteria in your plumbing. Even high concentrations of sanitizer will NOT eliminate it. It is inside a Biofilm. Forget about dishwasher cleaning of filters. There is more fungi and thermophillic bacteria inside your dishwasher than you can imagine. Just purge your plumbing regularly. It is absolutely amazing how easy it is to purge periodically and how so few dealers and manufacturers recommend doing so. Your situation is one we see every single day.
Ahhsomeguy, is it frequently the case that one person's skin will be sensitive/react to the bacteria while others will not? Curious why more people aren't having problems from his tub.

Can't wait to get updates on how all this turns out, ryandre!
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,255
Tucson, AZ
I agree with the others. Would suggest a deep cleaning of the tub and then stick with the Dichlor / Bleach method and avoid the Bromine from the start. You can't just switch from bromine to chlorine without a full water replacement.

 

ryadre

Member
Sep 8, 2019
21
New Zealand
Cool, thanks everyone, will update once we have done it all. Yes the curious thing for me as well was was I was the only one getting it. One of my daughters has slightly sensitive skin as well and she is fine.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
313
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Bromine tablets also have chlorine compounds in them to act as the oxidizer in the time release tablets. And you can only change to chlorine by replacing all of the water, you are reactivating the Bromine even if you don't see it on your tests (or think it's chlorine since the tests respond to both). You most likely have Folliculitis from the tub. And yes different people have different degrees of resistance to any disease.

I have found that it's easier and faster to clean the cartridge in a bucket with cheap dishwasher detergent at a fairly strong level than it is to run through the washer. Soak it for 15 minutes or so and then rinse really well with a hose at a 45 degree angle.

I have some Ahhsome coming with the TF-100 test kit, and I will use it every time I change the water, but I think it would be overkill (and expensive) on the weekly filter cleanings.

Think of it this way.. you probably would rinse just about anything else that sat for several years multiple times... unfortunately with a tub that's 300 US gallons a shot... but it's still not the end of the world...

The bromine may or may not be causing your condition. Again if you want to know mix up a glass or bucket full and see if you react to it.... The general consensus here is against Bromine, and I did chlorine for the first fill of my new tub because the supplies came with it. But I like that I could potentially skip a day or two with bromine floaters... so I might try it on the second fill since shortly I'll have a pool to take care of too. Like anything else I think I will be fine if I properly maintain the tub....
 
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