In these winter months, the hot tub is awfully inviting. After all, who doesn’t love a nice relaxing soak? That said, are hot tubs dangerous for seniors?
That’s the subject of today’s blog.
Burning Question: Are Hot Tubs Dangerous for Seniors?
First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way: hot tubs are not inherently unsafe for older people. It all depends on the specific circumstances and each individual’s unique health situation. The number-one rule of any activity is to consult a professional. So, are hot tubs dangerous for seniors? It’s best to ask your doctor before stepping into the water. They’ll be able to give you detailed answers to this and any other health questions.
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Let’s Talk About Blood Pressure
Speaking of potential health risks, a person with high blood pressure should use caution. As with extreme cold, extreme heat can affect a person’s blood pressure. This happens because the strong change in temperature causes blood vessels to contract and expand.
To prevent the heat from overwhelming you, try to keep the temperature around 100°F. For extra protection, be sure to not spend too much time in the water. Twenty minutes at a time, with intermittent breaks to cool off is the safest bet. This regimen can greatly reduce the risk of overheating.
Again, be sure to speak with a medical professional before using the hot tub. For seniors in particular, a doctor will be able to advise if your blood pressure medications or any other medications could potentially cause a nasty reaction.
Slipping and Sliding
The next issue that often plagues seniors’ enjoyment of the hot tub is the risk of slipping and falling in or around the water. The deck can be deceptively slippery. Be sure to wear water shoes while walking to and from the hot tub.
Have a towel nearby and dry off thoroughly before setting foot on the deck. Additionally, always use the handrail when exiting and entering the water. This is good advice for everyone, but is especially important for seniors to keep in mind. With age, many of us develop mobility or balance issues. Resulting injuries can also be more serious for seniors as well.
Drinking and Swimming Do Not Mix
This next tip is as true for seniors as it is for everyone else: alcohol and hot tubs do not mix. That’s a good tip for all of us to remember.
In spite of nearly every portrayal of hot tubs in movies, it can be quite dangerous to drink while taking a soak. In truth, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns against drinking in hot tubs. It’s quite easy to become drowsy while drinking, which can cause a person to fall asleep and slip under the water.
For seniors, it may be a good idea to have someone outside the hot tub or in the water with them. It’s a version of the buddy system that works for everyone, regardless of age.
Beware of Germs
Are hot tubs dangerous for seniors? As you’ve seen, that depends on the circumstances. For our final bit of advice, let’s talk about water quality. In both the pool and hot tub, it is crucial that the water be properly maintained.
Dirty water can carry all sorts of nasty bacteria and viruses, including Legionnaire’s disease and crypto. For seniors, their immune system may already be compromised. This makes infections far more dangerous.
Before setting foot in the water, be sure that the pH and chlorine levels are balanced. It can help to eliminate possible germs in addition to keeping the water clear.