Swimming and Chlorine Allergies

Swimming and Chlorine Allergies
When it comes to the perfect pool experience, who doesn’t like sparkling crystal clear water? To accomplish this, a variety of chemicals are required. One of the most popular is chlorine, but is it the best choice? Today, let’s explore swimming and chlorine allergies.

The Uses of Chlorine

Chlorine is one of the most common pool chemicals for a reason. It is quite versatile and helps to eliminate a large amount of gunk in the water. Achieving well-maintained, clear water is always the goal of any pool or Jacuzzi owner.

That said, this can be trickier than expected. Chemicals like chlorine can help to balance the pH levels and alkalinity of the water. In a nutshell, chlorine helps water stay crystal clear by preventing buildup of slime, algae and other potential hazards. This chemical kills bacteria and germs, and controls any organic debris that can get into the water, such as sweat or body oils.

For proper protection, most pools usually aim for about four ppm of chlorine. This can be easily measured with pool water test strips. Typically, these strips evaluate chlorine, pH and acidity levels in your pool water.

Swimming and Chlorine Allergies

As useful as it sounds, chlorine is not the right solution for every pool. For example, swimming and chlorine allergies do not mix. A surprising number of people have negative reactions to this chemical. It is not often discussed, but it should be a major topic of conversation for any pool owner.

Here are some of the symptoms of chlorine allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:

  • Skin redness, tenderness, inflammation, and/or itchiness at the site of contact
  • Skin lesions or rash
  • Scales or crust on the skin

Beyond that, hives due to swimming and chlorine allergies are often accompanied by raised patches or bumps with well-defined edges. Hives may appear suddenly and may grow in size.

People with asthma, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) and allergic rhinitis, who already have sensitive airways, might also have the following symptoms:

  • Coughing, especially at night, with exercise or when laughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A tight feeling in the chest
  • Wheezing a squeaky or whistling sound
  • Runny nose
  • Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion

Consult Your Doctor

If you or a loved one believes that chlorine allergies are a possibility, consult a medical professional. No medical worries should ever be ignored. A doctor will be able to provide a proper diagnosis and determine the correct treatment and precautions.

Using Alternatives to Chlorine

If swimming and chlorine allergies are a danger in your household, don’t give up hope. There are plenty of options available for pool and hot tub owners.

Saltwater Pools

Instead of chlorine, consider a saltwater pool. This process uses less chlorine than an all-chlorine pool, but it does still rely on a small amount of the chemical to work. Keep that in mind when it comes to allergies.

Bromine Pools 

Next, consider a bromine pool. Bromine is a great alternative for people who are allergic to chorine. This chemical works very similarly to chlorine to keep your water clear. That said, bromine comes from the same halogen chemical family as chlorine. Keeping this in mind, it is possible that a person allergic to chlorine may still have adverse reactions. Again, consult a doctor to learn more about your particular situation.

There are plenty of options available to pool owners. Don’t despair if you find that swimming and chlorine allergies are a problem in your home. It is just a matter of creating the swimming environment that works best for you and your family.