Hot tub folliculitis is a very common inflammation of the hair follicles on the trunk. It is seen a few days to weeks after someone has been soaking in a hot tub or Jacuzzi. It is most common on the back and causes scattered pinpoint, small red to purple bumps all over the back or trunk. These may be very itchy or have no symptoms at all. Typically, there is a history of sitting for one to three hours in a hot tub days prior to the start of the bumps.
Hot tub folliculitis is thought to be caused by Pseudomonas bacteria, which frequently thrive in the hot temperatures of hot tubs. It is also called Pseudomonas folliculitis. Often, this type of folliculitis may clear on its own in a few days without treatment. Hot tub folliculitis that does not clear spontaneously or with simple topical antibacterial washes is often treated with oral antibiotics like ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or levofloxacin (Levaquin) for five to 14 days, depending on the severity. The hot tub should be tested and possibly treated by trained pool and spa personnel for bacterial overgrowth. Affected patients may be more prone to recurrences in the future and should be cautious about hot tub use.
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