Allergic to Swimming Pools: Is My Pool Affecting My Allergies?

Does Swimming Affect Your Allergies?

Allergic to Swimming Pools

While swimming is one of the best activities to beat the summer heat. For some, swimming can sometimes cause issues for people who deal with allergies. Besides normal allergies, such as mold, dust, and pollen, it might seem like you’re allergic to swimming pools. In fact, many people are adversely affected by chlorine and other chemicals that are present in pool water.

Allergic to Swimming Pools: Is My Swimming Pool Affecting My Allergies?

But, just because you’re being affected doesn’t mean you are allergic. In fact, no one can be allergic to chemicals like chlorine. That being said, you can be more sensitive to these kinds of chemicals than most. The most common complaints include itchy eyes and skin, fatigue, and feeling miserable. The good news is that even though it’s not technically an allergy, an allergist can still help alleviate symptoms and help you get back in the water.

Chlorine Sensitivity and Chemical Congestion

Chlorine itself is a toxic chemical that can cause fatal exposure in certain forms. It’s only used to control bacteria and micro-organisms in minimal amounts that generally won’t affect larger animals. Without chemicals like chlorine, pools, fountains, and aquariums would become hot spots for water-borne diseases such as cryptosporidium and E. coli. The amount of chemicals needed is calculated by how dirty the water is; one widespread method to clean pools is to “shock” the water with too much chlorine to eradicate any organic buildup.

Common symptoms of chemical congestion include:

• Itchy and watery eyes
• Hives or rash on the skin
• Asthmatic reaction
• Runny nose and congestion

Even when chlorine isn’t present, alternative pool chemicals that are used to adjust the water’s pH balance can cause similar effects. As well as the pH balance, anything above or below the safe area between 7.2 and 7.8 can also cause adverse reactions.

You Can Do a Few Things to Help Lessen These Events:

Limit exposure

Limiting your time in the water can help reduce the severity of reactions.

Shower afterward

It’s important to shower immediately after swimming to remove any chemicals.

Stay outdoors

Chlorine vapor can build up around indoor pools, increasing the severity of any reactions.

Try saltwater

Saltwater pools don’t require as much chlorine or chemical intervention to stay clean.

See an allergist

Only a doctor can pinpoint any specific sensitivity or reaction. Treatment options vary depending on the frequency and severity of reactions.

People with severe reactions and events should be taken to an urgent care clinic to help bring the symptoms under control. Exposure to chlorine or chemicals can contribute to adverse allergy events by irritating the sinuses, respiratory tract, and lungs.

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