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 Pseudomonas Aeruginosa - "Swimming Pool Rash"

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is a common bacteria found in water and soil.  It is listed as an "opportunistic bacteria" that can cause:

  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Dermatitis (Skin Rash or Pseudomonas Folliculitis)
  • Respiratory System Infections
  • Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa) - please see your local doctor for treatment
  • Other systemic infections

In Swimming Pools, a very likely cause of skin rash is Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). Pseudomonas feeds on oil & grease present in the water (mainly from body oils & skin treatments brought into the pool from bathers NOT properly showering prior to entering the pool) and can multiply rapidly under ideal conditions (such as lack of proper sanitizing procedures). In swimming pools, PA can be found on various areas such as pool coping, waterfall edges, ladder steps, etc. PA infects the hair follicles on the body.

If infected, you will notice the following characteristics of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa:

  • Itchy rash 8 to 48 hours after contamination.
  • Rash can occur on arms, legs or trunk of body.
  • Rash disappears 7 to 10 days without treatment.

Perform the following procedure to treat  the infected spa or hot tub:

  1. Remove the filter and soak in a solution of chlorine and water during treatment. (2 - 4 Tbsp of Chlorine
    per 5 gallons of water)
  2. Shock with four times the normal dose of PoolBossŪ Vinyl Shock.
  3. Turn on the pump and circulate for 2 - 3 hours. The bacterial growth usually builds up in the lines,
    so it is necessary to flush them thoroughly.
  4. Chemically clean (such as PoolBossŪ Cartridge Cleaner) and / or replace the filter .
  5. Rebalance the pool. Do not enter pool until sanitizer level drops below 4.0 ppm.
  6. As an additional precaution, cheaphottubchemicals.com STRONGLY RECOMMENDS cleaning the solar blanket as well.  Clean your cover with with Natural Chemistry Cover Cleaner.

Be sure to seek medical attention from a qualified doctor.  Do not self-diagnose ANY condition.  This page is provided for informational purposes ONLY.

Enforce shower rules before entering spa or pool.
Maintain 1-3 ppm Free Available chlorine in residual spas or pools and 3- 5 ppm in commercial spas or pools.

Information from:
Kenneth Todar, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Bacteriology

For further information, please visit the Center for Disease Control website

This information is used by permission.

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