Many people experience annoying skin reactions when they spend a few minutes in a new pool and this can be categorized as chlorine allergy or “chlorine sensitivity” to be a little more practical. What usually happens when you have an allergic reaction to chlorine is your skin will become irritated and itchy much more easily than other swimmers.
For others, you may have an itchy face, sneezing or runny nose when you swim in a new pool. The most severe symptom for chlorine allergy is going to be an irritated and itchy rash. Something like this is definitely likely to deter you from swimming in new pools.
The fortunate science behind chlorine allergy is that it is something that can be quickly treated with a topical on the skin. There are also ways to determine if a pool is treated with chlorine or another alternative chemical.
In addition to pools, chlorine is also present in the water supply that goes to peoples’ bathrooms and drinking water supply. If you think that your immune system is suffering due to chlorine allergy, read on to learn about how to recognize chlorine triggers in small amounts and how to treat and avoid the symptoms entirely without the need for anxiety.
Different Kinds of Chlorine Allergy Symptoms
For many, it may seem like you can go in some pools, but others give you very uncomfortable symptoms ranging from a skin rash to your airways closing. This may give you some anxiety when going in your friend’s new pool, a water park, etc.
What’s worse? Telling everyone you’re afraid of water because it might cause an allergy or telling them you don’t want to take your shirt off?
Well if you develop a crusty body rash after swimming, it could be the former.
If you have an allergy to chlorine, the different systems of the body may react in ways depending on the unique type of person that you are. Although a fatal reaction is extremely rare, an allergic reaction to chlorine can cause moderate to severe discomfort.
There are different ways that chlorine can enter the body: direct skin contact, entering through the eyes, inhaling through your lungs, etc. Contact with chlorine will affect different parts of the body in unique ways.
Chlorine Allergy Skin Symptoms
The skin is the largest organ of the body, so it’s very easy for it to come in contact with chlorine. Chlorine allergy symptoms on the skin can manifest as a scratchy rash or eczema. These patches can appear on the arms, knees and in-between the legs.
It is likely that you will experience uncomfortable itching and peeling on these affected areas. The skin may be so dry that lotion and ointment may not do anything for you.
Since many laundry detergents use chlorine bleach as a cleaning agent, you may find yourself having itchiness on your body that can’t be explained throughout the day. This is likely because the small layer of chlorine that is still present on the surface of the clothes is enough to irritate your skin. (Source)
If this is the case for you, try to use a detergent in your washing machine that is chlorine-free.
Chlorine Allergy Eye Symptoms
Irritation of the eyes is the easiest and fastest way to tell if you have a chlorine allergy. Once the chlorine enters your eyes from the pool, you may feel itchiness of stinging at first.
After a few minutes, your eyes will get red and puffy, just like you’d expect from a lot of others at the pool. Fresh water will not do this to your eyes and this may be a common misconception. If your eyes get red and itchy at the pool, you should definitely avoid contact with the same water source.
In many cases, eyelashes can fall out and excessive itching or burning can occur in the eyes. If this if the case, avoid rubbing your eyes because this can make the allergic reaction much worse by spreading the chlorine around.
The best way to soothe your eyes after a chlorine allergy reaction is to apply a cold compress with an ice pack. This should bring down a little bit of the redness and the swelling.
Respiratory Problems from Chlorine Exposure
Chlorine is a very complex molecule in chemistry that doesn’t seem to know what it wants. It chemically jumps around, bonding to other molecules, and changes states of matter quickly under slightly changing environmental conditions. (Source)
This means that chlorine can turn into a gas, even at the pool. If you are allergic to chlorine and you are nearby a pool of water that has been heavily treated with chlorine, then you can simply breathe in and get lung irritation from the chlorine molecules in the air. This can cause tightness in the chest, wheezing, shallow breathing, sneezing, or coughing.
If these symptoms are familiar, then you definitely have immune reactions to chlorine. A full-blown asthmatic reaction can occur in rare cases and a doctor should be contacted immediately. This only happens to a very small percentage of the population, however.
Digestive Symptoms from Chlorine Allergy
Of course, another way of ingesting something is through your mouth and into your digestive system. Sometimes you may swallow pool water by accident and you could experience an allergic reaction this way.
Your digestive system can also be affected by chlorine fumes being inhaled, but this usually happens when the concentration of chlorine gas is very high. (Source)
Symptoms that can result of this include:
- Delusional feeling
- Acid reflux
- Nausea of vomiting
Since children are more likely to swallow pool water by accident and they have more sensitive bodies, they may be more susceptible to these kinds of symptoms.
Effective Natural Chlorine Allergy Treatments
If you have a chlorine allergy rash, then the best way to treat it is to apply a natural antioxidant moisturizer.
The science behind this is to consider how chlorine works as an element and molecule. The chlorine atom has 7 valence electrons, which means that it wants to get an electron from any possible source so that it can be stable. This is unique for an atom, except fluorine is the same way. (Source)
Therefore, chlorine strips the natural nutrient content of your skin by damaging skin cell’s oxidation level. To counteract this action, you can try to do the opposite of oxidating your skin cells, which would be called “reducing” them.
The best way to do that is with a natural antioxidant moisturizer that incorporates vitamins C and E.
Chlorine works in the same way when it is absorbed into the body. So consuming antioxidants through food may be healthy for you after a chlorine allergy reaction.
My favorite and most effective antioxidant drink is matcha green tea. This green tea powder makes you feel amazing and helps me heal after an allergic reaction.
Chlorine can be found in small amounts from other sources
Obviously pools are going to be the thing that comes to mind when you think of chlorine exposure, but it is also going to be found in your house’s water supply. Most major governments also disinfect the water supply by adding chemical chlorine, which kills pathogenic bacteria.
Chlorine usually evaporates itself over time if it is not covered in water, but sometimes the water is contained after it is disinfected and the chlorine remains until it reaches your house.
If you have ever gone to someone’s house and their water smelled like a pool, then the chlorine is still present in the water after disinfecting,
This also means that there is chlorine in your shower water. At high temperatures, chlorine more easily turns into a gas. Therefore, the high temperature that heats your shower and bath water is constantly generating chlorine gas that is contained until you turn on your shower or sink.
And we discussed how chlorine in the air can damage your lungs and cause asthma in non-asthmatic people.
How to get rid of chlorine in water
If you have determined that chlorine allergy is causing these annoying symptoms when you are near a pool, have an extended hot shower, or drink your unfiltered tap water, then there are some methods to getting it out.
The only way to get rid of chlorine from your water is by letting it sit uncovered before you use it. You can leave a pitcher of water without the top on your kitchen counter and cover is with a thin cloth overnight. When you wake up in the morning, most of the chlorine should be dissipated from the water.
This would make it much safer to drink, especially if you have an allergy to chlorine.
I am always here for you, so if you have a question or something to add about chlorine allergy, please let me know with a comment!
Talk to you soon,