Allergies to Chlorine in Swimming Pools

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Chlorine is one of the most used sanitizing chemicals in swimming pools.
Chlorine is one of the most used sanitizing chemicals in swimming pools. (Image: swimming pool image by apeschi from Fotolia.com)

A chlorine allergy is a potentially dangerous and harmful allergy that can cause mild to severe symptoms. In some cases, a chlorine allergy may be a nuisance at best, while in other cases it may be life-threatening. It is important to identity any chlorine allergies to determine if chlorine exposure is a problem for you. Swimming pools use a large concentration of chlorine that can aggravate chlorine allergies.

Description

A chlorine allergy is an allergy to the chemical chlorine, commonly found in water sanitation and in swimming pool water. Chlorine allergies can occur with several different symptoms, so it can sometimes be hard to discover if an allergy actually exists, and if it was the chlorine that triggered the symptoms at all. Chlorine allergies usually show up as nasal problems, but occasionally a rash or white bumps may appear over the body.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of an allergy to chlorine include itchy or watery eyes, red eyes, stuffy nose, coughing and an itchy or red rash; however, in severe cases, a chlorine allergy can trigger asthma-like symptoms where the lungs contract and constrict the airway. This can cause difficulty in breathing, which can be extremely dangerous in a swimming pool. If breathing seems labored or difficult around chlorine, then it is likely than an allergy exists. Consult with a doctor immediately if you note any of these allergic symptoms.

Misconceptions

Many people believe that they have a chlorine allergy when in fact, all that they have is a sensitivity to chlorine and chemicals that is not allergy related. Some of the symptoms for chlorine sensitivity are identical to the symptoms for allergies, which can make it even harder to identify a true allergy. Consult with a health professional to determine if your symptoms come from an allergy or just regular chemical sensitivity.

Prevention/Solution

Allergy attacks can easily be prevented with the removal of chlorine from swimming pools, cleaning products and drinking water. A water distiller typically can remove most of the chlorine from water. Swimming pools can be sanitized with other materials, such as bromine. Some pools also offer sanitation through a salt-based product.

Warning

According to Web MD, children who spend a lot of time in swimming pools raise their risks for nasal allergies and asthma. A 2009 study by Pediatrics Journal studied 847 teens who regularly swam. Teens who spent more than 1,000 hours in a swimming pool throughout their lives were 7 to 14 times more likely to have allergy problems than children who spent less than 100 hours in a pool. It is important to monitor children closely and note any changes in allergy symptoms with each visit to the pool.

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