safe at the spa

Safe at the Spa: Keeping Everyone Healthy

Cold and Flu Season … Staying Safe at the Spa

Sneezing, scratchy throat, runny nose, everyone knows the first miserable signs of the common cold or flu.  As the winter months approach, cold and flu season will soon be upon us.  Now is the time to start strengthening your immune system. Whether you work in a spa or enjoy spending time there, there are some important things that you need to know in order to stay safe at the spa.

Does your spa practice good health practices, or are they jeopardizing your health and well-being?  Do you know what to look for?  Spavelous has the answers to this and other questions in this week’s Spavelous “Now You Are In The Know.”

flu seasons at the spa
Safe practices are essential when pondering “Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?”. Brief sessions and adequate hydration can make hot tub use safer during the flu.

In an average year in the United States, over 40,000 people die from the flu.  Seasonal flu has been blamed on such things as being indoors in cold weather, low immune systems, humidity, temperature, and ultraviolet radiation. Last year, researchers directly tested the hypothesis that weather conditions, specifically low temperatures and relative humidity, spread flu faster than at high temperatures and relative humidity.

According to the study in the journal PLoS Pathogens, the researchers found that low (dry) relative humidity in the range of 20 to 30% produced the spread of the flu (influenza) virus faster than at relative humidity in higher percentages. In fact, at a humidity of 80% or above, their research found no spread of the flu.

With respect to temperatures, the researchers, who are based at the Mount Sinai Medical School of Medicine, found that the flu virus spread the fastest at 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) and the slowest at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). At 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), there was no transmission of the virus.

As a massage therapist in a Resort Spa environment, I was only too familiar with the cold and flu season.  Spa guests come from all over the world, and along the way, they may have picked up germs from the airplane, people at the airport, eating in restaurants, or in the restrooms they used.  I knew I had to be especially diligent during this time of year, or I could easily be sick the entire season.

There were two major challenges that spas faced during the cold and flu season.

The first is employees coming to work even when they do not feel well.  They may feel forced to work because they cannot find a replacement to work their shift.  They may decide to work because they do not want to disappoint the spa clients or, they may decide to work because they are on commission, have no benefits, and need the money.

The second is clients who come in for their service because the spa policy requires 24 hours’ notice if they are going to cancel an appointment. They do not want to pay for services that they did not have, or they may come in for the service because they are unaware that they are ill and are only having mild symptoms.

Regardless of how this occurs, it leaves an unhealthy situation for all involved.  These sick individuals can contaminate everything and everyone that they come in contact with, including door handles, gym equipment, sink faucets, massage tables, face cradles, and spreading germs through handshakes, hand massages, and sneezing.

Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?

Exploring the Efficacy of Hot Tub Therapy in Flu Treatment: When the flu has you aching all over, discover how a steamy hot tub soak could surprisingly offer the natural relief you’ve been craving.

Introduction: Understanding the Flu and Home Remedies

Flu season often raises the question: “Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?” This article aims to answer this by examining the potential benefits and risks associated with hot tub use for flu relief.

Hot Tub Benefits: Can They Alleviate Flu Symptoms? Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?

Many ask, “Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?” particularly when experiencing muscle aches and congestion. Hot tubs can temporarily relieve these symptoms, offering a soothing environment.

Hot Tub Benefits: Can They Alleviate Flu Symptoms? Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?

The flu never lets up when it hits, ravaging your body with aches, chills, and relentless sinus congestion. Finding relief can seem impossible as symptoms drag on. Could a relaxing dip in a hot tub actually soothe some of the misery? Hot tubs may lend a hand and provide scientifically backed benefits that offer temporary relief from flu suffering when used carefully.

Muscle and Joint Pain Reduction

Influenza viruses affect respiratory passages and cause body aches and deep muscle soreness. Hot tub heat works similarly to heating pads by improving local circulation and blood flow to tense areas for natural pain relief. Studies confirm immersion in hot water helps reduce arthritis pain and other muscle aches. Just avoid overheating for extended periods.

Sinus and Chest Congestion Relief

Steam vapor from heated hot tub water may thin out sinus mucus to improve drainage. The moist air also keeps airways hydrated, allowing for easier breathing, like using a humidifier. However, temperatures exceeding 102°F pose hyperthermia risks. Cool off immediately with showers if you are feeling dizzy.

Immunity and Antiviral Support

Can hot tubs kill flu viruses directly? Unfortunately, not — but they support immunity. Long, hot soaks shouldn’t replace restorative sleep, which is crucial for the body to heal during illness recovery—additionally, shower before and after to avoid contaminating water. Appropriate hot tub use could complement holistic flu symptom management under careful supervision.

The Verdict: A Helpful Healing Complement

Hot tubs shouldn’t replace flu medications or doctor recommendations. However, when appropriately used with an awareness of safety precautions regarding time/temperature, they could provide some therapeutic hydration, steaming, muscle relaxation, and pain relief during flu’s most miserable phases — so you can finally rest more comfortably on the road to recovering well.

Hot Tub Risks During Flu: Weighing the Pros and Cons

While considering “Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?” it’s crucial to acknowledge the risks. Overheating and dehydration are significant concerns when using a hot tub with flu symptoms.

Safe Practices in Hot Tubs: Maximizing Benefits While Reducing Risks

Safe practices are essential when pondering “Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?”. Brief sessions and adequate hydration can make hot tub use safer during the flu.

Alternative Flu Remedies: Comparing to Hot Tub Therapy

“Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?” While it offers some relief, you should prioritize other remedies like rest and hydration for effective flu treatment.

Conclusion: Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?

To conclude, “Is a Hot Tub Good for the Flu?” It can provide symptomatic relief, but it’s not a cure. Always consult healthcare professionals for flu treatment guidance.

is a hot tub good for the flu
Prevention from these two illnesses comes from maintaining a healthy, clean environment and strengthening your immune system so that if you are exposed to these germs, you do not get ill.

Is it a Cold or the Flu? How to prevent cold and flu

Cold and flu are two distinct illnesses; there are some important differences between the two that you should keep in mind:

  • Temperature: With a cold, you have a low-grade temperature, but with the flu, temperatures can reach 102 degrees or more.
  • Localized versus widespread: A cold usually remains localized in the nose and rarely spreads to the lower respiratory system, while the flu causes overall discomfort, including headache, sore throat, generalized body ache, and fatigue.
  • Duration: A cold is of shorter duration, lasting between two to five days, while the flu lasts between five to seven days.

Cold and flu Prevention

Prevention from these two illnesses comes from maintaining a healthy, clean environment and strengthening your immune system so that if you are exposed to these germs, you do not get ill.

Maintain a Healthy Environment

This is a list of common areas where cold and flu germs hide.  Keeping these areas clean and sanitized and avoiding risky behaviors will lower the opportunities for you to become sick.  Proper cleaning with soap and water, spraying with Lysol, or using sanitary wipes, depending on the item, will help.

  • A typical worker’s desk has almost 21,000 germs in a square inch.
  • An office toilet seat carrying 49 germs a square inch
  • The average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat
  • Phones, computer keyboards, and computer mice are refuges for germs because people use them so often.
  • Restrooms: Statistically, people tend to use the middle stall in public restrooms. Take care
  • After using the restroom, a single hand can have a population count of more than 200 million bacteria per square inch.
  • An average of only 1 in 6 people wash their hands after using the restroom.
  • When you sneeze, germs can travel at 80 miles per hour across a room.
  • One microbe can grow to become more than 8 million germs in just one day.
  • A kitchen cutting board harbors 50 times more bacteria than your toilet seat.
  • Viruses can survive on common surfaces as faucet handles for up to 72 hours.
  • Grocery Carts: They not only hold your groceries but also mucus & saliva due to children placing their mouths on the cart handle!  Not to mention the dirty diapers on the seat of the cart pull-out.
  • Elevator Buttons: The first-floor elevator button is a huge culprit for flu/cold germs.
  • Cleaning Sponges: Also known as the “bacteria cafeteria.”
  • Coffee Mugs: Clean your coffee mug every night.  Do not use the office sponge to wash it.
  • Use a paper towel when touching doors, knobs, locks, flushers, and toilet seats.
  • Restaurant tables may be more germ-infested than toilets if the staff does not wash and sanitize the table properly or if they use a dirty towel or sponge to wipe it down.  Clean any silverware that is directly on the table, and always place your silverware on your plate or on top of a napkin.
  • Shaking Hands: One of the main culprits for passing cold/flu germs.
  • Filtration systems on airplanes are supposed to prevent the cold/flu virus from circulating in the air. However, watch out for your seatmates, the tray tables, and information packets.
  • The necktie just took on a whole new meaning; half of the neckties worn are swarming with disease-causing germs.  When did you last clean your ties or scarves?
  • Subways, taxis, and mass transit are all areas to be avoided during cold & flu season.
  • Touch & Go: Germs can live on surfaces such as doorknobs, ATM Machines, gas pump keys, handrails, money, TV remote controls, light switches, refrigerator and microwave door handles, movie theater seats, and other items people touch in public places.

Prevention: Strengthening Your Immune System

While colds may not kill you, they can weaken your immune system to the point that other, more serious, germs can take hold in your body. Just think how many times your cold turned into bronchitis or a sinus infection.

A strong immune system is the best defense for cold and flu prevention.  In general, practice good health habits such as getting adequate sleep, exercising,  managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids (especially water), and eating a nutritious diet.

  • Wash Your Hands.
    • Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact. Someone who has the flu sneezes onto their hand and then touches the telephone, the keyboard, or a kitchen glass. The germs can live for hours and be picked up by the next person who touches the same object. So wash your hands often.
    • Wash your hands twice every time you wash them.  When Columbia University researchers looked for germs on volunteers’ hands, they found that hand washing had little effect, even when using antibacterial soap. So wash twice if you’re serious about fending off colds.
    • If no sink is available, rub your hands together very hard for a minute or so. That also helps break up most of the cold germs. Then, rub an alcohol-based hand sanitizer onto your hands.  Use this hand-drying strategy in public restrooms.  Please keep your hands clean after washing:  Studies find a shockingly large percentage of people fail to wash their hands after using a public restroom.
    • Every single one of them touches the door handle on the way out. So, after washing your hands, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet. Use another paper towel to dry your hands, and then open the door with that paper towel as a barrier between you and the handle. This is an actual recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control to protect you from infectious diseases like cold and flu.
  • Don’t Touch Your Face.  Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Touching their faces is the major way children catch colds and a key way they pass colds on to their parents.
  • Drink Plenty of Fluids. Water flushes your system, washing out the poisons as it rehydrates you. A typical, healthy adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids each day. How can you tell if you’re getting enough liquid? If the color of your urine runs close to clear, you’re getting enough. If it’s deep yellow, you need more fluids.
  • Take a Sauna. Researchers aren’t clear about the exact role saunas play in prevention, but one 1989 German study found that people who steamed twice a week got half as many colds as those who didn’t. One theory: When you take a sauna, you inhale air hotter than 80 degrees, a temperature too hot for cold and flu viruses to survive.  Visit a spa with a sauna or purchase a small home model.
  • Place your toothbrush in the microwave on high for 10 seconds to kill germs that can cause colds and other illnesses.  Your toothbrush is a breeding ground for germs. Sterilize it in the microwave before each use, store it in hydrogen peroxide (rinse well before using), or simply replace it every month or after you’ve had a cold. If your sink is in the same room as your toilet, close the toilet seat prior to flushing so that germs will not be sprayed throughout the room onto your toothbrush or towels. If you prefer, you may use a UV Toothbrush sanitizer.
  • Get Fresh Air. A regular dose of fresh air is important, especially in cold weather when central heating dries you out and makes your body more vulnerable to cold and flu viruses. Also, during cold weather, more people stay indoors, which means more germs are circulating in crowded, dry rooms.
  • Exercise.
    • As the weather starts to get colder, getting your daily requirement of exercise seems less desirable, but your body has a better chance of fighting off viruses if you are in good shape. Doing a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise will safeguard your body from the onslaught of germs that the cold and flu season brings.
    • The first randomized clinical trial to investigate the impact of moderate physical activity on common-cold incidence, conducted by Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., and colleagues, found that postmenopausal women who exercised regularly for a year cut their risk of colds in half compared to those who didn’t routinely work out. Moderate daily exercise of 30–45 minutes is recommended.
    • These findings were reported in the November 2006 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.  While moderate exercise is known to be very beneficial, exceptionally strenuous exercise presents special challenges.
  • Vitamin E may help protect against the common cold, according to a Tufts University study. As reported in the August 18, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a year-long study with 617 people aged 65 and older found that daily supplements of 200 IU of vitamin E helped reduce the incidence of the common cold by 20 percent. Vitamin E is best absorbed when taken with a meal that has some fat.
  • Eat Foods Containing Phytochemicals.  “Phyto” means plants, and the natural chemicals in plants give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. So put away the vitamin pill and eat dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat Soup. A good hearty soup warms the body and soul on a chilly day. Add some cold-fighting ingredients, and you’ll have a magical combination. Garlic, onion, and shiitake mushrooms all have wonderful antibacterial and antifungal properties and make flavorful additions to soup recipes.
  • Yogurt is excellent for creating good bacteria in your intestines to boost total body immunity.
    • A study from the University of California-Davis found that people who ate one cup of yogurt (live culture or pasteurized)  had 25 percent fewer colds than non-yogurt eaters. Researchers think the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may stimulate the production of immune system substances that fight disease.
    • A few spoonfuls a day can be effective in preventive medicine. But stay away from yogurts laden with sugar and candy or that don’t claim active cultures on the label. Also, enteric-coated Acidophilus Pearls are a sure shot for helping the good bugs in yogurt survive stomach acid and make it into the gut intact.
  • Stay alkaline. Sugar makes the body acidic, and pathogens tend to live on sugar. So, especially during cold and flu season, reduce sugar intake. Drinking lemon juice hot or at room temperature is great for maintaining alkalinity.  When you feel less than 100 percent, try adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet to promote alkalinity.  I also drink alkaline water processed by a Juniper Water Ionizer to help maintain my body more alkaline.
  • Stay hydrated in a balanced way. Everyone knows it’s good to drink lots of liquids when you’re getting sick to flush out mucus and toxins. However, when you hydrate, you also need minerals to hold onto the water. Sodium maintains water balance outside the cells, while potassium, magnesium, and calcium (all available in a good multivitamin with minerals) help to maintain water balance inside the cells. This is the reason to not drink distilled water, which leaches important minerals from the body.
  • Go herbal, but cautiously. One formula with extensive safety and efficacy studies is Esberitox. In a clinical study in Europe, it was shown to reduce the duration and severity of colds and flu by 50%. A blend of two potent strains of Echinacea and two other immune-boosters, Thuja and Baptisia, Esberitox, has been recommended by pediatricians and family physicians in Europe and the U.S. for many years. It is chewable and it tastes great.
  • Gargle with Black Tea and salt:  Prescription for sore throat and inflamed tonsils: Make a regular cup of black tea and gargle, adding 1/2 tsp of salt. The tannins in the tea are astringent and effective for shrinking the swelling and reducing irritation. The salt enhances the anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Vitamin C The immune-stimulating effect of Vitamin C was reached at 10 grams (10,000 mg). While 10 grams of Vitamin C is not for everyone, it’s definitely helpful to boost Vitamin C intake, which is effective in acute situations. Try a bio-available form at 1000 mg 5x/day, which is equivalent to 20,000 mg of regular ascorbic acid.
  • Zinc lozenges also have extensive research. Three doses of zinc lozenges spread throughout the day help to form a “bandage” over the irritated area of the throat. Studies have found that Zinc can stop the progression of colds and flu and shorten the duration of infection.
  • Elderberry extract or syrup is also a proven treatment for viral infections. It’s been popular in Europe for years and is now available in the U.S.
  • Take a garlic supplement every day.  When 146 volunteers received either one garlic supplement a day or a placebo for 12 weeks between November and February, those taking the garlic were not only less likely to get a cold, but if they did catch one, their symptoms were less intense, and they recovered faster.
  • Don’t Smoke.
    • Statistics show that heavy smokers get more severe colds and more frequent ones.  Even being around smoke profoundly zaps the immune system. Smoke dries out your nasal passages and paralyzes cilia.
    • These are the delicate hairs that line the mucous membranes in your nose and lungs and with their wavy movements, sweep cold and flu viruses out of the nasal passages. Experts contend that one cigarette can paralyze cilia for as long as 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Cut Alcohol Consumption.  Heavy alcohol use suppresses the immune system in a variety of ways. Heavier drinkers are more prone to initial infections as well as secondary complications. Alcohol also dehydrates the body.  It actually takes more fluids from your system than it puts in.
  • Relax.
    • Stress increases your susceptibility to colds. In fact, stressed people have up to twice the number of colds as non-stressed people.  If you can teach yourself to relax, you can activate your immune system on demand.
    • There’s evidence that when you put your relaxation skills into action, your interleukins — leaders in the immune system response against cold and flu viruses — increase in the bloodstream. Train yourself to picture an image you find pleasant or calming. Do this 30 minutes a day for several months. Keep in mind that relaxation is a learnable skill.

How to Curb the Spread of Germs:

    • Stay Home when you first feel sick.  Dragging yourself into the office when you are sick puts your co-workers at risk. Use common sense and stay at home if you have obvious cold and flu symptoms. The general rule is to stay at home for at least 24 hours until the symptoms subside. Remember: sometimes all your body needs is rest and some time to heal.
    • Wash Your Hands:  Cold germs can pile up on your hands. Use paper towels instead of terry cloth towels, which harbor germs.
      • Hand Washing Do’s

The proper way to wash your hands:  Using soap and hot water for 18 to 20 seconds as frequently as possible can be the single most effective prevention tip this season.

Wet your hands and apply soap.  Rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces.  Continue for 10–15 seconds.  The soap combined with the scrubbing action will help dislodge and remove germs.  Rinse well and dry your hands.  Use a hand sanitizer if there’s no soap or water available.

  • Cover your mouth & nose when you cough or sneeze with a tissue.
    • Use tissues, dispose of them properly, and wash your hands so you do not spread them to others. Suppose you do not have a tissue, sneeze, and cough into your arm.  We have been taught to cover our mouths with our hands when we cough or sneeze; however, that just puts the germs right on our hands, where we can spread them to objects and other people.
    • Instead, sneeze or cough into a tissue or hold the bend of your elbow over your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough if a tissue isn’t handy. It’s pretty rare that you shake someone’s elbow or scratch your eye with an elbow.  This will help reduce the spreading of germs to others.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or ears.
  • Disinfect Surfaces. According to the National Institutes of Health, rhinoviruses can live up to three hours on your skin. They also can survive up to three hours on objects such as telephones and stair railings. Cleaning environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant can help prevent the spread of infection.  Sanitize your work area so you do not spread the illness to others, and sanitize areas that you share with others prior to use.
  • Change and wash your hand towels every day during cold and flu season. When you wash them, use hot water in order to kill the germs.

How to get better faster from Cold and Flu

At the first sign of symptoms, the goal is to attack the virus early because it replicates the most within the first 48 hours.  At the very first hint of a cold, launch the following preventive procedures:
  • Suck on a zinc lozenge until it melts away. Then suck on another one every two waking hours. Or use a zinc-based nasal spray such as Zicam.
  •  Take one 250-milligram capsule of the herb Astragalus twice a day until you are better.
  •  Cook up a pot of chicken soup.  Eat chicken soup. According to scientists, there is an ingredient in chicken soup that has not been identified, which is beneficial to fighting a cold.
  • Drink tea and other hot liquids.
  • Roast garlic in the oven (drizzle the whole clove with olive oil, wrap in tinfoil, roast for an hour at 400°F), then spread the soft garlic on toast and eat.
  • Wipe your nose instead of blowing it.  Your cold will not hang around as long, according to a University of Virginia study. Turns out that the force of blowing not only sends the mucus out of your nose into tissue but propels some back into your sinuses.  Researchers discovered this using dye and X-rays. If you need to blow, blow gently and blow one nostril at a time.
  •  Don’t pressure your doctor for antibiotics.  Colds and flu (along with most common infections) are caused by viruses, so antibiotics, designed to kill bacteria will not help. They can hurt, however, by killing off the friendly bacteria that are part of our immune defenses. If you’ve used antibiotics a lot lately, consider a course of probiotics.
  • Get plenty of rest. Activity prolongs colds because it tires the body, weakens your system, and may cause you to develop other illnesses.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. It makes you feel worse.
  • Avoid sugar and caffeine because they both lower your immune response time.
  • Drink plenty of water. A cold causes you to breathe rapidly, and this causes you to lose more water.
  • Herbal Relief.
    • Herbs are nature’s medicine.  They contain active ingredients that produce effects against symptoms, just like drugs would.  Herbal baths from Masada, as well as the much-loved Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath, all use essential oils to detoxify the system and promote lung function.
    • By harnessing the capabilities of herbs and essential oils and making them readily available when and where you need them, Crystal Comfort Bath Salts utilize eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, thyme, and basil to soothe sinus congestion.  Herbs and essential oils can help you feel better during the healing process.  Essential oils used in spa treatments can also be highly beneficial when you’re battling an infection.
  • Using a neti pot, an ancient Indian method of nasal irrigation (and more recently made famous by Dr. Oz on The Oprah Winfrey Show, provides relief and gentle cleansing of the sinus passages.

By giving the body the things it needs in the most healthful way possible, you’re sure to send the cold and flu bugs packing this year.

Spa Safety Where the Dangers Lie and What to Look Out For

Everyone knows what to look for to ensure you have safe pedicures or nail spa treatments.  However, do you know what to look for in massage and aesthetic rooms?  Do you know how to detect if your spa has safe sanitation procedures in place to keep you from catching a cold or flu?  If you are not sure, then you must read about the critical keys to massage and esthetic room safety.

While sanitation standards may be set by the state board of massage, the state board of cosmetology, the state department of health, or be governed by local or state ordinances, there are basic key points that I look for when evaluating a spa.  In many cases, Spavelous standards may exceed that which is required in your area.  Here is what I look for when I do a tour of a spa prior to booking a treatment.

Look for the following in each treatment room:

Proper sanitation of the hands is probably the single most important part of the sanitation protocol for therapists.  A sink with hot and cold running water:  If there is a sink in the room, you should see your therapist or aesthetician wash their hands before, during (when necessary), and after the treatment.  In addition, you should see the following items at the sink:

  • Liquid hand soap
  • Paper towel to dry their hands (cloth towels may spread germs)
  • Sanitizing Gel

Even if your therapists or aesthetician wears gloves, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that they wash their hands and decontaminate them before putting on gloves and right away after removing the gloves.

Every client potentially has a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection that they may spread to the therapist or to other clients at the spa. This may be as minor as a foot fungus that spreads easily if clients walk around on the floor barefoot or as serious as hepatitis. To avoid infection, the therapist should always practice Universal Precautions for their own safety.

Universal Precautions are the policy of the CDC on blood and body fluids. The purpose of the policy is to remind workers to protect themselves from bloodborne diseases transmitted through broken skin or mucous membranes. If the therapist’s hands have scratches or cuts, the therapist should wear gloves.

Therapists should also wear gloves if the client has any areas of skin that are not intact or if the client says that he or she has a blood-borne condition such as hepatitis or HIV. Even if the skin appears intact, Latex gloves break down when exposed to oil, lotion, or cream products. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nitrile, and neoprene gloves are suitable alternatives to latex. Gloves should be disposed of after each client.

On this point, if the spa has a locker and supplies you with a robe and sandals.  The Robe should be freshly laundered, and the sandals should be disposable, laundered or clean, sanitized, and properly disinfected.  Personally, I prefer to bring and wear my own waterproof sandals.

If the therapist is suffering from allergies or coughing, a face mask should be used.
The therapist should be in short sleeves because long sleeves may come in contact with the client’s skin and become contaminated.

Sanitation of the treatment room, equipment, and product containers.  In preparation for the session, the therapist should decontaminate the treatment area, equipment, and implements. Sanitation consists of a cleaning step that removes visible contaminants and a disinfection step that removes most pathogenic organisms from inanimate objects.

The room should have a labeled spray bottle filled with an approved sanitizer solution and a paper towel or sanitizing wipes for wiping down the massage table, face cradle, bolsters, and aesthetic chair.   After linens are removed from the table, the table and all parts (cradle, arms, bolsters) should be wiped down.

All reusable equipment (e.g., metal or plastic bowls. spatulas. application brushes. and the cooler) should be washed in hot, soapy water and disinfected with alcohol or the use of an approved sanitizing system. Even surfaces that do not come into direct contact with clients should be sanitized after treatments; these surfaces include the thermal space blanket, which is often forgotten in the cleanup process. Spray the thermal space blanket with alcohol and allow it to dry.

Clean, fresh sheets and towels are stored in a sealed cabinet.  Ensure that the sheets and face cradle covers are changed between each client.   The table should only have linen for one service on it.  If the table is layered with more than one sheet on the bottom and a top sheet, be careful.  This is not sanitary.

Observe or ask where the dirty laundry is stored and how they are laundered.  Hot towels should only be used on one client and then properly laundered.

Spa products should all come from their original closed container with a sanitized spoon, spatula, or pump and be placed into pre-sanitized holders for use during the treatment. Spa products become contaminated when therapists use their hands to remove the products or dip them into original containers during treatments. Any unused spa products should be discarded.

During a body or facial treatment, proper waste disposal procedures are important. Some items used in the treatment are one-time-use products such as gauze, sponges, and plastic body wraps. These items should be deposited in a closed trash can immediately after use.

By observing the spa’s sanitation procedures and asking questions, you can ensure a safe spa visit.

Ask Mrs. Spa – Nail Salon Safety

ask mrs spa

Can a Barbicide solution safely be used in a jet pedicure station for sterilization and sanitation? We are looking for a solution to use that is not abrasive to the pipes and jets – bleach or barricade solution?

Robin K. In S Carolina

We will be happy to assist you with this question; first, you should check with the State Board of Cosmetology in your state to see if they have specific requirements for the products used.

With that said:
Under new federal advisories put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Infection and the EPA, all equipment must be cleaned and DISINFECTED after each client (and not just sanitized or cleaned).

So, if a spa employee uses Barbicide to disinfectant a piece of spa equipment, the mixing rate (amount of water mixed with Barbicide) would be so costly that no one would do it (per gallon of water, you must mix 8 ounces of Barbicide, so if you have a 6-gallon pedicure station, that’s 48 ounces of Barbicide that you would have to dilute into the spa chair after each customer!)!!

Ameri-Kleen has a 1-ounce per 1-gallon mixture ratio. That means that if you have a 6-gallon tub of water to disinfect, it requires only 6 ounces of chemicals and not 48 ounces compared to Barbicide (read the label on the bottle to see what the PROPER mixture rate the disinfectant that you use requires you to mix it at to be classified as a true disinfectant).

Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Maintenance

AmeriSpa, LLC highly recommends the following cleaning and disinfecting regimen. In
most instances, it exceeds public health standards, including those issued by various
states’ Boards of Cosmetology.

However, you should contact your local governing agency for their specific cleaning and disinfecting requirements and regulations for pedicure spas. For your patrons’ safety, always use the regulations as a minimum standard for cleaning and disinfecting. Combining your state’s standards with the regimen listed below will provide your patrons a safe and healthy pedicure spa environment and experience.

1. Routine maintenance. Powdered cleaners or abrasives are NOT RECOMMENDED. A clean sponge and towel are all that is usually needed. A stiff-bristled brush may be used when excessive residue is present. Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the upholstery, but do not wet excessively.

Ameri-Kleen™ may be used in place of soap and add the benefit of *sanitizing the spa surfaces (other than the basin), upholstery, and footrest when used in a dilution of ½ oz per gallon of water and allowed to remain in contact with the surface for at least 60 seconds. Wipe dry with a clean towel. State Boards and OSHA require that bottles be clearly marked as a “Sanitizer” for safety. No internal maintenance of the spa components is necessary other than the *cleaning and *disinfecting regimen as listed below.

2. Between each customer, drain all water and remove all debris from the basin. Fill
the basin with clean, warm water. Add a low-foaming detergent to water, and operate the whirlpool for 3 to 5 minutes to clean the surfaces, walls, and internal components of the spa. Drain the water. Refill the basin with fresh, warm water, then add the required amount (proper dilution is critical) of an EPA-registered disinfectant with demonstrated bactericidal, fungicidal, and virucidal activity, which must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Operate the whirlpool for 10 minutes (or the time specified by the manufacturer of the disinfectant). For ease of use and superior results, we recommend the use of Ameri-Kleen™, an EPA-registered hospital-grade One-Step Disinfectant and Cleaner, specifically formulated for whirlpool pedicure spas. Ameri-Kleen™ combines surfactants and chelating detergents with a hospital-grade disinfectant that eliminates the need for separate cleaning and disinfecting steps.

Rinse with clean, clear water and drain water from the basin. Wipe dry with a clean towel. Special Note to Bio-Smart™ Users: The dilution, injection of Ameri-Kleen™ disinfectant cleaner, and the timing of the whirlpool cleaning and disinfecting cycle is completely automated for you. Please refer to your Bio-Smart™ user’s guide for additional information.

3. At the end of each day, remove the intake suction screen by rotating the screen
Counter-clockwise, as shown in the illustration. Remove all debris trapped behind
the screen. Wash the screen and the inlet with low-foaming detergent and water or Ameri-Kleen™, an EPA-registered disinfectant and cleaner, mixed to the proper dilution (1 oz to 1 gallon of water).

Before replacing the screen, perform one of the following  two procedures:
• Wash the screen in a chlorine bleach solution of 1 teaspoon of 5.25% chlorine
to 1 gallon of water
• Totally immerse the screen in Ameri-Kleen™, an EPA-registered disinfectant, mixed to the proper dilution (1 oz to 1 gallon of water). The use of Ameri-Kleen™ eliminates the need for 2 separate steps.
• Allow the screen to remain immersed in either solution for 10 minutes.
Finally, perform cleaning and disinfecting as in “between each customer”. Rinse with clean, clear water and drain.

4. Every other week: After following the outlined cleaning procedures for the end
of the day, fill the basin with cool water and add 1 oz of 5.25% chlorine bleach solution. Circulate the solution through the whirlpool system for 5 to 10 minutes.

Let the solution stay in the spa overnight (6 to 10 hours). The following morning
(Before the first customer) drain and flush the system with clean, clear water.
CAUTION: Chlorine bleach is a highly corrosive chemical. When used in high concentration it can cause damage to seals, gaskets and some plastic parts of any whirlpool pedicure spa.


Note:  Cleaning or sanitizing is NOT disinfecting. According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), disinfecting occurs only when there is a reduction of pathogenic microbes at 99.999%.
Sanitizing is only a reduction of 99.9%.

Cleaning of whirlpool pedicure spas requires surfactants and chelating detergents that are low-foaming and have the ability to remove body oils, organic oil additives, mineral oil, skin cells, nail clippings, etc. that can accumulate both in the basin and the spa waterways (jets, intakes, etc.) and become a fertile area for microorganisms (biofilm) to grow.

It is recommended (in some states, it is the law) that you keep a record or log of the end-of-day and biweekly cleaning and disinfecting of your Whirlpool pedicure spa. Check with your state board or other governing body for specific laws and regulations regarding
foot spas and/or whirlpool pedicure spas.  Website for the EPA / CDC advisory:

I hope this information fits your needs; besides New Life, this product is also available at Sally’s Beauty Supply if there is one in your area.