I was recently on vacation at a resort that had a few hot tubs for guests to use. While walking my daughter in her stroller around and around to help her take a nap, I noticed a big warning sign above each spa that said people with diabetes should consult a physician before using a hot tub. There were many other warnings, but this particular one stuck out for obvious reasons. I have seen these signs before, but they just had a generic warning about people with “health issues” and not specifically diabetes. I’ve used hot tubs on occasion and have had diabetes for some time now and never had an issue. I wondered what the warning could be referring to that’s dangerous for diabetics. I had a few guesses, but didn’t know for sure.
Why do you think it may be dangerous for a diabetic to be in a hot tub?
After doing a little reading online, I quickly learned that there have been some studies that suggest type 2 diabetics may benefit from hot tub therapy. I also learned that there have been deaths linked to diabetics in hot tubs. When I read the sign, the first thing that came to mind was that the resort was just trying to C.Y.A. against a potential lawsuit. Some of the potential benefits of hot tub therapy that I read were; reduction in blood sugars, weight loss and improved sleep patterns. [source]
When using a hot tub in the past, I would wonder how the very hot water and gyrations could impact the effectiveness of my infusion set. Would the stickiness last as long after a few rounds in a hot tub? Would the hot water impact the absorption of insulin after getting out? Could I be more susceptible to an infection because of the hot water and irritation around the infusion site? Obviously, I would never enter a hot tub with my insulin pump still attached. But these may be real concerns that other could have. I have never had an issue with these questions posed above – never did mine lose stickiness, get infected or did I notice an absorption issue.
[not my toes - I prefer sparkly blue]
The dangers of using a hot tub as a diabetic are really two-fold. The two main issues you could have are:
- Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) in hands and feet could affect one’s ability to tell if the water is too hot leading to burns. I guess one way to overcome this is to test like you would a baby’s bottle and use your forearm. This may be a little difficult to do in reality. I wonder if this has really happened or if it’s just urban legend. I did read that toddlers and infants can get burned by the temperature, but I would suspect that it’s rare an adult would get burned.
- Passing out due to a low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) could be very dangerous. My thought here is that passing out from a low blood sugar is pretty freakin’ dangerous regardless of where you are. Why let diabetics in a pool then? What about driving a 2-ton motor vehicle? Operating machinery? The list could go on and on.
I won’t say that you can be all cavalier and do whatever you want, but I will say to use some simple common sense. Test out the water temperature first before going in and try to no go alone. I mean really, who whips out their cell phone, calls a doctor, gets her on the line and checks first? No one.
Does anyone know of other dangers as a diabetic using a hot tub?