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A Hot Mess

A Hot Mess
Veterans Affairs
Augusta, Ga.

Why was I laying on my bed with just a towel around me? And why was I so disorientated? I tried to collect my thoughts. I remembered washing my car and then coming home to shower. After my shower, I decided to pamper myself and take a nice, long bath. I filled the tub with hot water and bubbles, turned on some music and settled in for what seemed like an hour.

Realizing my skin was getting wrinkled, I decided to hop out. That’s when I felt dizzy. I had no idea what was going on, so I quickly grabbed my towel and headed for the bedroom. I barely made it to the bed before I passed out.

This happened to me more than 20 years ago, and I haven’t taken a hot bath since. However, a few years ago, my boyfriend and I were on vacation and decided to enjoy one of our hotel’s amenities — specifically, the Jacuzzi. I was leery at first, as my mind raced back to my last experience of soaking in a hot tub, but I decided to give it a shot anyway.

Initially, the warm water was wonderfully relaxing; however, everything went downhill fast. My boyfriend got out and walked to the shower to rinse off. I watched him reach for the top of the shower door, turn around and fall to the ground. I couldn’t believe he passed out! I jumped out of the hot tub and rushed over to him. He had hit his head on the wall when he fell, but I was able to revive him. He suffered only minor injuries.

I had chalked up my experience of passing out after a hot bath as a fluke. But when it happened to my boyfriend, too, it was Google time. During my research, I read a Harvard Health Letter and learned a hot soak relaxes your blood vessels, as well as the rest of your body. When you get out of the water abruptly, some people suffer from “hot tub” syncope. According to the Mayo Clinic, syncope — like fainting — is a temporary loss of consciousness followed by spontaneous recovery.

The hotter water in a hot tub poses increased health risks from fainting. Mayo Clinic heart researchers had six subjects soak in 104 F water (the current recommended temperature for hot tubs) and 106.7 F water for 21 minutes to see if hotter water caused any ill effects. They concluded that the higher temperatures posed little health risk from heart or circulation problems. However, they found that when the subjects stood up to exit the tub, systolic blood pressure dropped dramatically, nearly twice as much in the hotter water compared to the 104 F temperature. The study goes on to say that out of 36 hot tub deaths, 25 were caused by drowning.

During my accident, I was fortunate I didn’t hit any sharp or hard objects. My boyfriend was lucky as well and only lightly hit the wall. For anyone taking a hot bath or getting into a Jacuzzi, I highly recommend limiting your time to 10-15 minutes and keeping the temperature at 104 F or less. Yes, a nice, hot bath may be good to soothe tired, aching muscles. Just don’t overdo it or you could find yourself in a “hot mess.”

  • 1 November 2013
  • Author: Army Safety
  • Number of views: 7444
  • Comments: 0