Are hot Showers bad for you?

Recently, whenever I take a hot shower, I get little red dots on my arms, back, chest, and legs. They’re tiny, perfectly round, and bright purplish red. (Maybe petechia?) They usually stick around for two or three days, before finally disappearing. They’re not actually on the surface of the skin. (So they’re not smiliar to a freckle or dermatitis.) These red dots are more underneath the skin.

Anyone else have this problem?

Also, in general, are there any other health risks generally associated with taking really hot showers?


Well, it sounds like heat rash, 'cept it only takes half an hour or so for that to go away when you cool down.

      • Allergies? Hot showers open up your pores, and you could be allergic to something in the water.
  • If hot showers are bad for you I don’t know. I know that it’s bad for everybody else if I don’t get mine. - DougC

Maybe it is broken blood vessels. Ive also heard that too hot showers are bad for your heart. You shouldnt put hot water directly on your heart. If you sit in a bath dont let the hot water go over your chest area. It can cause a heart attack, especially in the elderly. But, as far as skin rashes go… I guess maybe it is the broken blood vessels thing (this is common… it is not serious… like a vericose vein). But Im not sure. Anyone else know?
Do you eat enough iron and protein? Maybe it could have to do with a type of anemia?

Kidding. Kidding. KIDDING!

My diagnosis of your dreaded red-bumps-in-shower disease…heat induced urticaria (hives). Happens all the time. Do they itch?

It’s caused by mast cell degranulation and histamine release secondary to high temperature. If you want to do a quick experiment, take 50 mg of benadryl (two OTC capsules) 1 hour before hopping in a hot shower. Benadryl is an anti-histamine and should block hive formation.

They are not petechiae, as petechiae are small hemorrhages in the skin and do not have a raised quality. It is also not likely to be an allergy in the traditional sense because of the association with only hot water. Finally, they are not, as Sakuro suggests, broken blood vessels (although I enjoyed reading Sakuro’s fictional account of why hot water can cause cardiovascular problems in the elderly). It’s also not an iron deficiency or anemia as these cause low red cell counts and poor oxygen transport, but not dreaded red-bumps-in-shower disease.

Sakuro, can I use “You shouldnt put hot water directly on your heart.” as my sig?

This would be a good experiment, but not unless you are prepared to go to bed right after that shower. Benadryl definitely causes severe drowsiness in most people. I, for example, sleep for about 8 hours after taking 2 Benadryl. YMMV.

IANAD. Let’s get that clear first.

BUT…what I know about the matter is that high water temperatures increase blood pressure. This is why anyone with most any kind of heart problem is discouraged from using hot tubs–and why people die in them.

About 5 years ago, I passed out stepping out of a hot shower, and lay on the floor slipping in and out of consciousness for what seemed eons. I was having essentially the world’s worst cramps, but my doc explained to me that it is very common for people to pass out when they step out of a hot shower because of the sudden change/drop in blood pressure.

That is the only risk I know of–outside of burns–associated with shower temperatures.

Actually, hot water CAN cause heart attcks in the elderly and for people with heart problems. Its not fictional. Many elderly people die each year here in Japan from sitting in full tubs of too-hot water. Its because when the water is high enough to immerse your entire body up to the level of the heart area, it raises the body temperature to unhealthy levels in the region of the heart. Also, just the shock of changing temperatures so drastically and so quickly can be enough.

Also, the original writer (Dalmuti) said the rash was UNDER the skin… so it wouldnt be a raised rash. Thats why I agreed it might be petechiae or broken blood vessels.

Also, Laura… you can quote me if you want! (:

Sakurako and Ruffian, you guys both have it half right.

I didn’t mean to imply that hot water immersion is not a problem for individuals with pre-existing heart problems. I just disagreed with the idea that you need the water to come in contact with the area overlying the heart to cause problems.

The truth is that anybody that has problems increasing their cardiac output or problems constricting their capacitance vessels (mainly big leg veins) and other peripheral vessels, will get into hot water if they get into hot water. The general effect of hot water is to drastically increase blood circulation to the skin. Of course this means that there is less circulatory reserve. In a healthy individual, various mechanisms compensate for the huge diversion of blood to the skin. For one thing the heart must ppick up the pace and pump ma greater volume of blood per unit time. If it can’t, myocardial ischemia or high output heart failure may result.

The reason why people pass out when standing up to exit a hot tub is that they transiently fail to properly perfuse their brains. When you stand-up, to get out of the hot tub, a reflex constriction of your capacitance vessels and reflex increase in cardiac output must occur to maintain your blood pressure and cerebral circulation. If these reflexes fail (as in individuals on B blockers, pregnancy, neuropathy due to diabetes, congestive heart failure), you pass out as you try to stand.

Yes, its true. The spots are under my skin and they are somewhat similar to vericose veins at least in color and depth under the skin. However, they are perfectly round little circles and dots. They dont itch or anything like that. My doctor actually said they were petechiae (hemhorrages into the skin) probably caused by hot water or stress. Also, he said everyone gets petechiae as they get older. I didnt feel confident that he knew what he was talking about. Anyway, thanks for everyones ideas.

If you push on one does the redness fade?

If I push on it, it doesnt fade. Thats why I do agree they might be petechiae, but I dont agree with my doctor that they are perfectly normal for everyone to have sometimes.