Are you addicted towards swimming? Is spending time in the pool, your favourite leisure? If you just answered yes, then you must be aware of chlorine acting as your body odour, right? But do you know that you can have chlorine allergy as well?
It is true that swimming acts as a cure for several allergies and health problems. But the fact that even swimmers can have an allergy to chlorine makes this a hazardous chemical for human body. While a common awareness exists that the effects of chlorine are very fatal, but the possible aftereffects of chlorine contamination is still unknown to many.
Pool owners often use chlorine for sanitizing the water; thus swimmers are often unaware of the presence of this chemical in the water. From itchy reactions to dry skin, the consequence of exposure to chlorine can be very fatal, giving rise to allergies.
What causes an allergy to chlorine?
Exposure to any kind of chlorine compound and byproduct results in chlorine reactions and irritation throughout the body. A person can come in contact with this chemical through situations like-
- While spending time under waters in a swimming pool, obviously
- Being in a water body or pool during a visit to any water park
- Hazards caused by occupations like- bleaching industry, producing chlorine, cleaning and sanitizing swimming pools, water treatment industry, chlorination, etc.
The symptoms of chlorine allergy
To detect if you are suffering from allergy of chlorine, you can consider symptoms like-
- Skin allergies
While coming in contact with chlorine, it is your skin that gets affected first. From itchy reactions to rashes and skin dryness, you can have various skin problems once you get affected by this chemical. Chlorine allergy rash is one of the most common skin problems among swimmers.
- Respiratory Problems
One of the deadliest effects of chlorine is that it hampers the respiratory system. If you face asthma attacks, breathing problems, sneezing and coughing along with chest tightness, consider it to be a sign of being allergic to chlorine.
Do you cough once you touch or smell chlorine? This may be a sign of having allergies. Visit your doctor and inquire if this is a normal chemical reaction or symptoms of allergy.
- Eye irritation
If you feel that you are experiencing irritation in your eyes while coming in contact with chlorine, that is an indication of your allergy. You may suffer from redness, watering of eyes, itchiness, dryness, etc. In such a case, avoid rubbing your eyes, as it will simply increase your irritation.
Exposure to chlorine may even lead to vomiting and faintness. Delusions are even considered as one of the most common chlorine allergy symptoms.
Inhalation of chlorine can also further lead to sneezing. This usually happens if you have prolonged interaction with this chemical either at the pool or through your occupation.
Chlorine allergy diagnosis and testing
If you feel that the above symptoms sound familiar in your case, then it’s time to have a proper diagnosis. With several hazardous effects involved in chlorine contact, it is always safe to seek an expert’s help instead of self-medication.
Once you visit an allergist, you will be asked to conduct allergy tests for diagnosing chlorine sensitivity in your body. By checking your existing medical history, the allergist will be able to determine the exact cause of your reaction to chlorine. No matter what your age is, you can easily have a test.
There are two kinds of chlorine allergies skin test
- A drop of chlorine will be pricked on your skin’s surface; either your forearm or back. If the chemical contact causes redness, dryness or itchiness at the test spot, you are considered to be a prey of chlorine.
- You may even have an allergy test where a small percentage of chlorine is injected directly into your forearm’s skin. Just like the other one, if you have redness or any other reaction, you are considered to be allergic.
Preventing chlorine allergy
Can you afford to stop swimming or leave your occupation to protect yourself from coming in contact with chlorine? Certainly not! Since these are not the plausible ways, allergies to chlorine can be prevented by –
- Salt water pool systems
Instead of swimming at pools which use high amount of harmful chemicals like chlorine and bromine, you can switch to salt water pool systems. These pools have a safer and gentle environment with the presence of natural chlorine produced from salt.
The amount of chlorine used in these pools is lesser than that of swimming pools. Even with a lower percentage of chlorine, these pools ensure utmost sanitization.
- Clean pools without chemicals like bromine and chlorine
Again for cleaning, instead of using chemicals like chlorine and bromine, swimming pool owners can avail organic products. They need to avoid sanitizing their water bodies with these chemicals and detergents, replacing them with a safer alternative.
- Take bath before and after
Swimmers can lessen their contact with this deadly chemical by taking bath before and after swimming. This decreases the percentage of chlorine the human skin is affected to. A failure in rinsing off the chemical after swimming makes you have chemical residue in your body till the next bath!
- Minimize the amount of chlorine in water
In case you are drinking water having chlorine composition, you can use filters to purify your water. This will even remove the pesticides present in the liquid.
- Opt for all natural fibers
Instead of relying on chemical based products and byproducts, switch to organic ones. Start using cotton clothes, bedding and towels.
Chlorine allergy treatment
If you have been tested positive after having a chlorine allergic examination, then you can try out various home-based remedies like :
- Applying cold compresses like ice wraps in the affected areas to treat swelling and itching.
- Using fresh Aloe Vera directly on your skin to cure rashes
- You can add baking soda in your bathing water to decrease inflammation and itchiness.
- Treating rashes with vinegar will prove beneficial.
- Mix sugar and almond oil to lessen body itchiness.
Apart from these, you can always see the specialist who will prescribe you proper medication, in case the condition is serious. Time to be aware of chlorine allergy, swimmers!