There’s nothing more relaxing than soaking in a natural hot spring. Humans have been flocking to these natural wonders for hundreds of years. People once believed the waters held magical healing powers. However, many have unfortunately discovered why people call them hot springs.
While it’s no secret that hot springs can be warm, can they be dangerous? Strap on your bathing suit, and let’s dive in!
What Are Hot Springs?
Hot springs are a body of spring water warmed by geothermal heat. The heat comes from far below the Earth’s surface and eventually comes in contact with the water. Due to the unique heating element, the temperatures of hot springs can vary dramatically.
You can find hot springs hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. These springs can be comfortable for soaking and bathing. On the other hand, there are equally as many hot springs that are 122+ degrees Fahrenheit, which can be extremely dangerous.
Can Hot Springs Be Dangerous?
Hot spring temperatures can vary considerably and change quickly. As a result, you should avoid getting into any hot spring that you’re not familiar with or haven’t researched. You could be making a very dangerous, potentially even deadly, decision.
In addition to the heat-related dangers, there are also potential bacteria and diseases in the waters. Some local authorities prohibit swimming or bathing in hot springs to avoid potential risks. Not only do you need to worry about dangerous temperatures but also bacteria and ensure you’re staying on the right side of the law.
How Hot Can Natural Springs Get?
Hot springs can look like a calm and relaxing warm body of water, but the temperatures could be hazardous. Some natural hot springs can reach and exceed the boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine climbing into a boiling pot of water. It’s easy to see how that would quickly ruin your day.
Yellowstone National Park is home to many geothermal features, including hot springs and geysers. Scientists have discovered that the internal temperatures for Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone are 459 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the temperatures can vary so widely and some can be deadly, the park prohibits swimming or bathing in any hot springs within the park’s boundaries.
Who Should Avoid Hot Springs?
While soaking in a hot spring can be incredibly relaxing, it’s not always advisable for everyone. Like many activities, pregnant women should consult a physician before soaking in a hot spring. In addition, if you have open wounds, high blood pressure, or a heart condition, it might be best to find a different way to relax.
Proceed with caution while soaking, even if you have no health conditions that might limit you from entering a hot spring. Take regular breaks and stay hydrated with safe, potable water. Alcohol is not a substitute for water when soaking in a hot spring. Avoid any substances that may impair your ability to fully enjoy the experience or safely return to your vehicle.
Want to see the impressive hot springs in Yellowstone? Avoid going during the Worst Time to Go to Yellowstone.
Why Shouldn’t You Put Your Head Under in Hot Spring Water?
Unless the water boils, there’s a chance for bacteria to grow in hot springs. You should avoid putting your head underwater or ingesting water through your mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. Scientists have discovered brain-eating amoebas living in hot springs all over the world.
While we’re not scientists or medical professionals, this doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience. It’s best to avoid going underwater in a hot spring. This can reduce your chances of experiencing any adverse medical issues resulting from bacteria and other organisms living there.
Should You Shower After Swimming in Hot Springs?
If you’re soaking in a natural hot spring, you should shower as soon as possible. This can help reduce or eliminate bacteria or organisms on your body. You never know what might be living in the water, and you don’t want that gunk on your skin.
On the other hand, many luxurious spas feature hot spring experiences. They typically heavily regulate the water in these facilities and must meet specific standards. Some spa experts discourage bathing after soaking in their spa’s hot springs as it removes the nutrients from the skin. However, some people with sensitive skin or who have been bathing in waters with high sulfur or acidic water benefit from a shower.
What Are the Benefits of Soaking in Hot Springs?
Soaking in hot springs can have various health benefits depending on the minerals in the water. Those who regularly soak in hot springs can have stronger bones, better kidney and heart health, higher energy levels, and much more.
As we said, there are tremendous benefits to soaking in hot springs when you do it properly. Many athletes visit hot springs to expedite their recovery and minimize aches and pains from training. If you’re tired of sore and aching muscles or bones, a soak in a hot spring may be an excellent option.
How Do I Know If a Hot Spring Is Safe?
Use a thermometer to check the water temperature before climbing into a hot spring. This is especially true if it’s a wild or undeveloped hot spring. While checking the temperature before climbing in can be helpful, you must remember that temperatures can quickly increase and reach unsafe levels.
When in doubt, stick to established or developed hot springs. These typically have more consistent temperatures the owners monitor for considerable amounts of time. Users will benefit from knowing the springs are generally safe, and there are minimal risks of hazardous temperature changes.
Are Hot Springs Worth Visiting?
A visit to a hot spring can be fantastic and make for a relaxing time. Some natural hot springs provide tremendous views of nature and can be an experience you’ll never forget. Hot springs can be worth visiting with a loved one or a group of your favorite people. Please research and follow our safety tips, and you’re likely to have an incredible time.
Which hot springs would you like to visit?
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