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April 14, 2011 8:31 PM   Subscribe

We just bought a hot tub and we are concerned about herpes.

We have very frequent guest who very recently contracted herpes AND he loves our hot tub. It gives me the jeebies and I won't go in the tub for 48 hours after his visit. I don't want my hubs in the tub at the same time as sir germy. I've googled and the results are ambiguous. Sir germy is a family member, so banning is not an option. Are my fears valid? I would love to find peace of mind on this issue and enjoy our new toy.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You don't have anything to worry about, herpes is spread through bodily fluids or less often through physical contact (body to body). You can't catch it in a hot tub, just like you can't catch it by using the same toilet seat.
I don't blame you for being a little creeped out, but you're safe.
posted by absolutshrk at 8:51 PM on April 14, 2011


The virus is destroyed by heat or chlorine. While you'll see some stories from people saying they got it from a hot tub, I'd imagine some of them were likely doing some other types of intimate contact after hot tubbing that led to infection.
posted by inturnaround at 9:01 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the American Social Health Association:

How is it transmitted?

Any person who is sexually active can get genital herpes.

Herpes is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact. This occurs when a contagious area comes into contact with a tiny break in the skin or mucous membrane tissue, primarily the mouth and genitals.

Most skin on the body is too thick for the virus to go through.

If a person with oral herpes (sometimes called cold sores or fever blisters) performs oral sex, it is possible for the partner to get genital herpes.

If a person with genital herpes has sex, it is possible for his or her partner to get genital herpes.

Genital herpes can be transmitted sexually both when symptoms are present and sometimes when symptoms are not present.

There are several days throughout the year (called asymptomatic reactivation, asymptomatic shedding, or subclinical shedding) when the virus may be present on the surface of the skin, but there are no symptoms. Herpes can be passed through sexual contact during this time.

There are no documented cases of a person getting genital herpes from an inanimate object such as a toilet seat, bathtub, or towel. Herpes is a very fragile virus and does not live long on surfaces.
posted by tristeza at 9:59 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also don't blame you for being squicked out, but please remember that people with STDs are still people. Calling this guy Sir Germy just reinforces the widespread stereotype that those afflicted with any STI are "dirty" or gross - even if this guy is.

And honestly, owning a hot tub is fraught with health hazards to begin with. Unless you are consistently draining and refilling the water in there every month, you could be housing all sorts of infectious yuckiness. It took my doctors two years to help me find the right strain of drugs to take to rid myself of the serious sinus infection I contacted after getting dunked in a not-very-clean hot tub when I was in high school.

Just my two cents. Hopefully the above data regarding the transmission of herpes will give you some piece of mind.
posted by patronuscharms at 2:19 AM on April 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you don't like him in your tub, tell him to stay out of your tub. If you can't or won't at least treat him with some respect and stop calling him names.
posted by gadha at 4:36 AM on April 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


This is obviously a big deal to you. I would suggest you have a serious talk with your family member about it. Just explain that you don't feel comfortable having him around and touching your things and sharing water, as he has herpes.

I know that if I were in his shoes, I'd be really glad to know the truth about how you feel.

It sounds like I'm being sarcastic, but I'm not. I do seriously think this would be for the best.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:13 AM on April 15, 2011


And honestly, owning a hot tub is fraught with health hazards to begin with.

So true. From a 10-year-old study (click on the PDF to download full article):

Use of hot tubs is growing in popularity in the United States. Many adverse outcomes have been described with the use of hot tubs: burns, Pseudomonas aeruginosa folliculitis, inhalational injuries from sanitizing chemicals, “humidifier lung” (hypersensitivity pneumonitis associated with a humidifier and caused by various fungi), “hot water fever,” legionellosis, and more recently “hot tub lung.” Hot tub lung is an incompletely characterized disease associated with Mycobacterium avium complex growing in the hot tub water.

The one thing you don't have to worry about it Herpes transmission.
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:07 PM on April 19, 2011


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