Chlorine Allergies/Hypersensitivity

Exercise, including swimming, can be beneficial for those with asthma and allergies. Now questions are being raised about people being allergic to chlorine. It is argued that a chlorine allergy does not really exist. However, most if not all, medical professionals agree that there are individuals that are sensitive to a reaction with chlorine.

Chlorine reactions include itchy, red skin or hives (itchy bumps). This is not an allergy but is actually “irritant dermatitis” (like a chemical burn), caused by hypersensitivity to this natural irritant. Chlorine is also drying to the skin and can irritate existing dermatitis.

Chlorine may indirectly contribute to allergies by irritating and sensitizing the respiratory tract. Studies have suggested that frequent swimming in chlorinated pools may increase the risk of developing asthma and other respiratory allergies, both in adolescents and in adults. A recent study has shown a statistically significant increase in asthma with young competitive swimmers in indoor pools compared with those that play outdoor sports such as soccer. This is believed to be caused by the airborne chloramines which is a disinfection byproduct of chlorine.

What one might think is a chlorine allergy might actually be underlying asthma, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) or bronchospasm. A runny nose might be due to other underlying allergy problems. People with asthma, EIB and allergic rhinitis, who already have sensitive airways, might also have the following symptoms: 1) Coughing, especially at night, with exercise, or when laughing, 2) Trouble breathing, 3) A tight feeling in the chest, 4) Wheezing a squeaky or whistling sound, 5) Runny nose, 6) Itching, 7) Sneezing, 8) Stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion.

Copper ionization is a healthy alternative to chlorine. If you or anyone you know has these conditions and a swimming pool, there are options available and we would love to assist.

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