A warning for prospective Commercial Spa-goers: Danger can lurk in the spa; small hidden demons. Awareness of these health risks in the spa will help prevent diseases, parasites and contagious germs.
Although looks deceive, Risks to health in commercial spas are real. Infections can spread during spa services and are not easy to detect. Several forms of bacteria and germs are not visible and do not emit a distinctive smell. Some are contracted by physical contact; others are inhaled. The most commonly written are jacuzzi infections.
A good example of a massive infection from the recent past may remind us of an infectious outbreak among passengers aboard a large cruise ship. They hired Legionnaires’ disease, a deadly form of pneumonia, while enjoying a relaxing bath in the heated hot tub of the ship.
Infectious diseases can easily spread in public swimming pools, baths or jacuzzis; in particular, swimming pools that use recirculated water. Water flowing in a natural hot spring spa is less likely to allow harmful bacterial cultures to be established.
In some commercial Spas you do not need to touch anything to invite dangerous organisms into your system. The air inside most commercial Spas is humid and smoky; that is an ideal condition for the propagation of organisms that live in the water vapor that circulates in the air through an air conditioning system. Germs enter the lungs while breathing. The spa air is incubated there. Incorrectly recirculated or filtered air will spread infections and viruses, including minor ones such as the common cold or flu strains.
Bacterial pathogens such as Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Flavobacterium, Nocardia, Streptomyces and Thermomonospora will enter the nasal passages, be swallowed by mouth or attacked when they are introduced into cuts in the skin or are absorbed through the pores.
Author of ‘ The Secret Life of Germs and director of microbiology at N.Y.U. Medical Center, Philip Tierno Jr., PhD, says:
“These organisms love hot and humid environments … spas are hot and smoky, and when you inhale vaporized water in this atmosphere, you are potentially inhaling any organism that is present.”