Steam rooms can definitely add to the aesthetics of a master bathroom. However, there are certain problems associated with both the physical aspects of a steam room and a person's health. Problems resulting from steam rooms include bacteria and fungi, dehydration and heat stroke, electrolyte deficiency and even sinus problems. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate these problems through construction and the taking of the proper precautions during each spa session.
Bacteria and Fungi
One problem with steam rooms is that the gases from water vapor can permeate grout and dry wall, according to Askthebuilder.com. Consequently, when the water cools, bacteria and fungi can proliferate inside the steam room. This can potentially cause you or family members to get fungi infections like ringworm. One way to correct this problem is to line your steam room with a water vapor barrier made of fiberglass or polyethylene plastic. These surfaces are impervious to fungus. Therefore, fungi or bacteria can easily be removed through regular cleanings.
Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Steam rooms are usually set at high temperatures of 40 degree Celsius, which is equal to 104 degree Fahrenheit. People who stay in saunas above the recommended 15 or 20 minutes can potentially become dehydrated. Dehydration can be a serious problem, often resulting in lightheadedness, nausea, fatigue and an increased heart beat, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Heat stroke is another potential hazard from over-exposure to steam rooms, which reduces people's ability to sweat and lower their body temperature. You should drink plenty of fluids before and after each steam room session. It is also important to replenish your electrolytes because you lose calcium, salt and potassium when you sweat. Bananas have lots of potassium. You can also drink milk or orange juice to replenish your body's calcium.
Steam rooms are usually salubrious for your sinuses, moistening mucus membranes and opening up blocked sinuses, according to Dr. Andrew Weil at Drweil.com. However, some people tend to get recurring sinus infections from steam rooms. This problem can be the result of mold or a reaction to certain chemicals found in cleaning agents. Avoid using pungent cleaning agents when cleaning your steam room. Try using more environmentally safe products or those with less potent fumes.
Pregnant women should take certain precautions when using steam rooms. Over-exposure and elevated temperatures could potentially cause birth defects to your baby. The reason is that high temperatures can possibly reduce your blood pressure, depriving your fetus of oxygen and vital nutrients. Pregnant women should pay attention to warning signs such as dizziness, chills and extreme thirst.
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