Chlorine Allergy - Do you have one?
Most of us are exposed to chlorine on a daily basis. It is a popular disinfectant and is also used in the making of paper products, plastics, pesticides and PVC. A few common uses for chlorine are:
Tap Water- disinfectant
Chlorine Bleach and other household detergents and cleaners - Whitens whites, disinfects clothes and surfaces
Swimming pools - disinfects, sanitizes, keeps water from getting cloudy and helps to prevent algae from forming on the surface
Sucralose - Chlorinated sugar (most popularly sold as Splenda)
Insecticides - Yes this stuff can kill bugs as well as people
- Disinfection & Testing| Healthy Swimming | Healthy Water | CDC
- Disinfection with Chlorine | Public Water Systems | Drinking Water | Healthy Water | CDC
Education and information about water treatment, community water treatment, water systems, public drinking water, safe drinking water, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, disinfection, community water fluoridation, fluoridation, con
Chlorine Allergy Symptoms
With so many opportunities for exposure, many of us are bound to have
an adverse reaction of some kind. But how do you know if your allergic?
For the most part, those with a true chlorine allergy will experience
Difficulty breathing in or out
Tightness in chest
Pain or pressure in chest
Persistent or uncontrollable cough
Difficulty or inability to talk
Feeling anxious or panicky
Other symptoms associated with having an asthma attack
These symptoms are very serious warning signs. If you are experiencing any of the above, treatment immediately. Be sure to tell the medical personnel exactly how you were exposed. The type of treatment you will receive is dependent upon the type of exposure you experienced.
Chlorine Intolerance Symptoms
True chlorine allergies are rare. Other, less severe
symptoms are indications of a chlorine intolerance or sensitivity. They
are as follows:
Eye irritation - red, watery, itchy
Severely dry and/or itchy skin
Red, itchy rash
Chlorine Allergy Relief
The best way to avoid these symptoms is to avoid chlorine. Sometimes that's not possible, but you can, at least, minimize your exposure.
Invest in home water filters.
Non-chlorine bleach, oxygenated cleaners, and even natural home remedies like vinegar can be used to whiten and disinfect clothes.
Shower before you enter a pool to rinse off anything that might react with the chlorine. Wear a swim cap and goggles. Apply a good body lotion or cream like the afore mentioned before you get in the water. This will keep your skin from absorbing so much chlorine and minimize skin irritation later. Immediately after leaving the pool, rinse yourself off thoroughly using cool water. When you get home, bathe with a moisturizing soap and water. If chlorine was in your hair, cleanse with swimmers shampoo. Apply lotion.
Despite some of your best efforts you may still find yourself suffering from of the symptoms above. See a doctor, or more specifically, an allergist about a possible chlorine allergy. Even if it turns out to be a chlorine sensitivity instead, you'll still need something for your skin. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, they may recommend over-the-counter allergy relief products or prescriptions. Here's a list of some allergy relief products that have worked for other people:
Eucerin - Original crème
Aquaphor - Healing ointment
Oatmeal baths - store bought or homemade
As stated earlier, chlorine is used in so many different ways and places. It may seem impossible to avoid. However, with diligent research and some precautionary measures, you can definitely be more comfortable in your own skin.
- Chlorine Residual Testing | The Safe Water System | CDC
Description of the processes that occur when chlorine is added to water, why the SWS recommends testing of free chlorine, and methods to test free chlorine.
- CDC | Facts About Chlorine
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