Chlorine is a disinfectant (mineral) substance used in particular in private and public pools to maintain hygiene in the tanks. Is it possible to be allergic to chlorine? The answer is affirmative because chlorine can generate allergies or skin irritations (when it is in contact with sweat). Chlorine allergy refers to the chemical that is commonly used both in swimming pool waters and in sanitation.
Often we are not aware of this allergic form until we go to the pool for a swim in the summer or attend swimming or water gym classes.
How is chlorine allergy manifested? What consequences are there? How should swimming pool goers once the allergy is discovered? Do they have to give up or are there specific treatments to eliminate or reduce the allergy to the disinfectant? Let’s find out together.
Symptoms of chlorine allergy
The symptomatology of those who are allergic to chlorine is similar to all those sensitive to rashes. Chlorine allergy manifests itself with the following typical symptoms (which can also develop in succession):
- Itching spread all over the body
- Appearance of spots or dots on his body
- Dry skin
- Cracks in the joints of the joints, under the feet and on the palm of the hand after
- Swimming in the pool
- Burning in the eyes
- Swelling in the eyes
- Eye itch
- Frequent sneezing
- Respiratory problems
- Dry cough
- Asthma (in subjects already at risk)
In those who already suffer from allergic rhinitis, psoriasis and various dermatitis it is possible that the typical symptoms of chlorine allergy are present much more intensively than “healthy” subjects.
How to cure chlorine allergy
There is no definitive cure of chlorine allergy, but we can turn to palliatives and tricks to try to divert the problem. First you play on prevention and try to attend pools not very crowded (although these are usually the most convenient economically).
Always wear a bathing cap, goggles, shoes (also avoid fungal infections) and take a shower before entering the pool (as per basic rule of sports centers) and immediately after. Use mild, non-aggressive detergents, possibly with acidic pH. After making sure you have followed the correct preventive anti-allergy to chlorine, you can still be affected by the allergic form (just because not immune to the substance). In this case it is advisable to:
- Rinse your eyes with running and drinking water
- Use emollient and decongestant eye drops
- Use cortisone-based creams for red patches
- Take antihistamines if you experience excessive rashes and serious breathing problems (such as asthma)
There are some pools that use other disinfectants, such as bromine or simple salt water (in disinfecting the toilet) to avoid having to give up a physical activity so beautiful and beneficial for body and health (especially for younger people).
Antihistamine treatment should be used as a real cure for allergy. Before taking oral medications and topical cortisone creams seek advice from an allergist and a dermatologist. The specialist visit will help you to understand if there is really an allergic form to chlorine or if the substance has activated a reaction especially in conjunction with other factors (low immune defenses or contact with sweat).
In some cases, in fact, it is not about real allergies, but only a sensitivity to chlorine and other chemicals. It is also estimated that those who spend more hours in the pool tend to develop allergies with higher percentages than those who spend less time there.
In very rare cases there is a particular allergy to water, often confused with other allergic forms (such as chlorine, chromium, etc.). The allergy to water or aquagene is a form very fortunately rare that drastically affects the life of those affected.
In these subjects the reactions are immediate after any contact with water:
Symptoms are skin reactions and swelling, tearing and in severe cases (if swallowed) asthma or anaphylactic shock. Who is affected by this allergic form must avoid:
- Any kind of sport
- Go out when it rains
- Swimming in the pool or sea
The only remedy is to wash with hydrogen peroxide and treat the disease with antihistamines.