Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

The Risk Of Dehydration In Hot Tubs

My health club’s outdoor pool’s hot tub has a new sign:

“No children under 12 allowed in the hot tub…this includes dangling feet and dipping toes!”

It’s very large and placed in front of the entrance to the hot tub at the stairs. Not only can you not miss it, you can’t miss reading it – the letters are huge and neatly written.

You only have to be at the club for a few minutes to see why the need for the sign:

1. This week, the high heat: in this weather, kids will dehydrate quickly and put themselves at risk for heat-related illnesses. Just not worth the few minutes in the very hot water. Kids may already be relatively dehydrated if not drinking enough in heat waves so time in hot water will hasten the onset of heat illnesses in that situation.
2. Parents were already ignoring the smaller posted signs.
3. Hot tubs are really grown-up venues and actually have a therapeutic function. They are not toys or meant as recreation so shouldn’t be used or fostered as such.

Adults, too, shouldn’t be in a hot tub for very long when the outside temperature is in the mid 80′s and above with high humidity. We, too, can become dehydrated and put ourselves at risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. However, sometimes us adults need the hot tub for therapeutic reasons, such as after exercise, to aid in the healing of injury, arthritis, etc. That’s how I use the hot tub and why I found myself sitting in it for a few minutes on an 85 degree, very humid day. My healing back needed a few minutes of intense heat and those jets after my usual swim. I kept my eye on the time and after 10 minutes got out and downed some cold water.

The sign did keep away most people and most older kids and adults did respect it. But, a few blatantly did not. One mom actually read the sign for a good few minutes and then when her toddler tossed a fit because she wanted to go in she finally relented but said “only your toes…that’s allowed.” Well, actually not. The sign specified no toes specifically so I’m not sure how she made the leap that her daughter’s toes were the exception.

Her daughter didn’t dip for long before a lifeguard came over and shooed her away. The mom looked miffed but hopefully will be wiser next time and not attempt to pull one over on the staff or the rest of the people there to have fun and were willing to follow the rules.

Safety aside, the ultimate issue here, the other important issue is teaching our kids that rules are meant to be followed. If we break the rules and don’t follow them ourselves, our kids will grow up thinking they, too, can break rules, that they are “above the rules”. Those are the kids who tend to get themselves into all sorts of trouble as teens. The seeds of risk taking and bad behavior do start young and are often planted by watching us.

So, have a blast this summer but follow the posted rules. You’ll not only keep your kids safe today…but tomorrow, too.

For more information on heat illness in kids, click here.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »