Beware of this lung disease that you can catch at the spa!

Beware of this lung disease that you can catch at the spa!

With the arrival of spring and the return of sunny days, you may want to have a spa. Did you know that this activity, although enjoyable, also carries risks? More precisely that of contracting a pulmonary pathology. Explanations from Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens.

Bathing in a spa is a rather pleasant activity, there’s no denying that. But it also carries risks such as contracting a lung infection. An update on the issue with Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens.

An illness caused by bacteria in water

A spa contains a large quantity of bubbling water and therefore provides ideal conditions for the development of bacteria and more particularly mycobacteria. These mycobacteria belong to the same family as those causing tuberculosis. They can therefore also trigger pulmonary pathology in people who are exposed to them.

According to Dan Baumgardt, lecturer at the School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience at the University of Bristol, interviewed by our colleagues at The Conversation, “Despite the potential wellness benefits of heat and hydrotherapy, enjoying a relaxing swim in a hotel’s hot tub could sometimes do more harm than good“.

People with weakened immune systems at greater risk

According to Dr. Baumgardt, the risk of contracting a lung infection at the spa obviously concerns frequent users, but also people with a weakened immune system. As for symptoms, affected patients describe a fever, accompanied by shortness of breath and cough.

Lung changes can be seen on an x-ray or a chest scan and can be quite deep” adds the expert, who recalls that the spa “acts as a perfect environment for these bacteria to grow because the heat of the system creates an optimal temperature for their proliferation.” and that the “Boiling water acts like an aerosol, allowing bacteria to be released into the air where they can be inhaled“.

Be careful with private or individual spas!

Mycobacteria are not the only microorganisms potentially present in spa water. According to Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens, we can also find “other bacteria but also fungi, protozoa, algae and viruses”.

Moreover, confirms the doctor, “the spa effectively combines all the conditions to create a ‘culture broth’, with a high temperature, stagnation of water which is not changed, mixing of the population and aerosolization by the whirlpools.. Finally, recalls the expert, “public spas are analyzed regularly, like public swimming pools, which is not the case for spas or private jacuzzis or individual, which we must therefore be wary of“.