Hot Springs Risks



The thermal springs are naturally formed by geothermal activity far away from the Earth surface. Each hot springs is a result of the hydrological cycle with its own characteristics including mineral content, mineral combinations, temperature, and pressure. Minerals, their combinations, and heat itself provide numerous benefits to the body.

However, while mineral hot springs offers numerous health benefits, there are some things to be cautious about as well. Read more about hot springs risks and safety tips to avoid health problems.

High Temperature

It is a known fact that hot springs temperatures range from mildly warm to dangerously hot. Extremely hot temperature can be enough to cause second- or even third-degree burns on an individual. Before entering hot springs, always test water temperatures.

Prolonged soaking (20 minutes and more) may lead to hyperthermia when body temperature raises to increases to 102°F (38.9°C). If the body temperature increases to 104°F (40°C) or higher, you put yourself at serious risk for heatstroke. Heatstroke can cause irreversible damage to the brain and other organs.

Sulfur

In high concentration, hydrogen sulfide has toxic effects and can be fatal due to the blocking of cellular respiratory enzymes leading to cell anoxia and cell damage. Do not bath in the unknown wild hot springs.

Sulfur can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Talk with your health provider if you think you have the allergy to sulfur.



Naegleria fowler Ameba

An ameba known as Naegleria fowleri is found around the world. Most cases of infections have been caused by ameba from warm freshwater including rivers, lakes, hot springs, and poorly maintained swimming pools.

Infections can occur when people irrigate their sinuses with contaminated tap water. It is recommended to never lower the head into the water as an ameba can enter into the system via the nose and destroys the brain tissue. This condition is known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis or naegleriasis which is a potentially lethal brain infection.

Heart Health

Soaking in hot water of mineral springs can increase heart rate and lower blood pressure. Rapid heart rate rises cause a drastic drop in blood pressure that, in turn, shocks the body and can lead to lightheadedness, fainting, and even cardiac arrest.

Changes in temperature which occur gradually is what causes improvement in cardiovascular function. People with heart conditions should ask their doctors before entering hot waters.

Pregnancy

It is also advised for pregnant women to maintain a safe distance from hot springs as it can cause neural tube defects (brain and spinal cord damage) in the baby and miscarriage. Also, a few studies suggest a small increased risk for other birth defects such as a heart defect, an abdominal wall defect, or oral cleft.

Hot water of springs or tubs, as well as sauna and steam room, can raise body temperature to 102°F (38.9°C) for 10 minutes triggering hyperthermia. If you are pregnant and decide to use hot springs, hot tub or sauna, limit your session to 10 minutes or less.

That brings this discussion to its final conclusion. It must be evident by now that the numerous benefits of a soak in these mineral hot springs far outweighs the few precautions that need to be taken. It would truly be a shame for anyone to miss out such a beautiful and enriching (literally!!) experience, for the mind, body, and soul.



Highlights

Mineral hot springs offers many benefits but there are some things to be cautious

Extremely hot temperature can be enough to cause second- or even third-degree burns

Bathing in hot water can increase heart rate and lower blood pressure


1. Jacob N. Albin, et al. "Spa Treatment (Balneotherapy) for Fibromyalgia—A Qualitative-Narrative Review and a Historical Perspective". Published online 2013. NCBI
2. "Parasites — Naegleria fowleri — Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) — Amebic Encephalitis" CDC
3. Chambers CD. "Risks of hyperthermia associated with hot tub or spa use by pregnant women". 2006. Birth Defects Reseach (part A)
4. Edwards MJ, et al. "Hyperthermia and birth defects". 1995. Reprod Toxicol 9(5):411.
5. Milunsky A, et al. Maternal heat exposure and neural tube defects. 1992. JAMA 268(7):882.
6. Yasuo Tsuchiya,Tomihiro Shimizu, Teruyuki Tazawa, Kazutoshi Nakamura, and Masaharu Yamamoto. Effects of hot deep seawater bathing on the immune cell distribution in peripheral blood from healthy young men. NCBI. Japan 2003.
7. Nathaniel Altman. Healing Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taking the Waters. 2000.
8. Daldal H, Beder B, Serin S, Sungurtekin H. Hydrogen sulfide toxicity in a thermal spring: a fatal outcome. NCBI. 2010.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *