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Going to the Spa? Watch Where You Sit!

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Many spas and salons in Canada and the United States do not have regulatory bodies to oversee sanitation and hygiene practices, according to a recent investigation by CTV news

Many spas and salons in Canada and the United States do not have regulatory bodies to oversee sanitation and hygiene practices, according to a recent investigation by CTV news. Some clients of a California salon recently came down with a fungal infection after taking footbaths and getting pedicures. Out of about 1,000 spas in the country, the Canadian Spa Association currently has just 123 members who follow voluntary guidelines for hygiene. With hair cutting, massage, exfoliation, manicures and pedicures taking place daily, spas have the potential to be breeding grounds for infection. But don't let that scare you off a pleasant experience. Most spas are quite concerned about proper hygiene. The key is to ask the right questions before getting treatments. Manicure and pedicure equipment, for instance, should be sterilized between customers. And although water in footbath tubs is changed between customers, the tubs themselves should also be sterilized.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern over a new disease coined "hot tub lung." When used indoors with jets on, hot tubs can give off a fine mist containing Mycobacterium avium. The bacteria cause flu-like respiratory symptoms and fever. To avoid the condition, clean the filter of your hot tub regularly, and if indoors, make sure the room is well ventilated. To be absolutely sure, leave the jets off.

Sources: CTV news net; Spatrade 04/22/2003.

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