Chlorine sensitivity – what you need to know
Summertime and clear blue waters bring back many memories for South Africans during the holiday period. Although swimming is a great past time and can help with many ailments such as asthma and allergies, chlorine can often exacerbate these symptoms causing some people to stay away from the water.
Chlorine is a powerful chemical which is used to disinfect water and is therefore often added to the pool or Jacuzzi spas to clean the water. However, the element is very drying and can irritate the skin, eyes and sometimes, the respiratory system.
Often people complain about chlorine making them feel itchy, irritating their eyes and inducing red rashes on their skin. At first glance, this may seem like an allergy but in fact, it is often a sensitivity that is easily treated and should not discourage you from taking a dip in the pool.
When the skin is exposed to chlorine infused water it dries out, which can then manifest in a rash or even hives. This reaction can cause existing dermatitis to flare up and although this sounds scary, dermatitis is simply a general term to describe any skin inflammatory reaction, such as eczema. Excessive exposure to chlorine can also bring underlying asthma to the surface which can be treated with asthma medication.
A chlorine rash can be treated with most topical allergy creams, however, it is important to note that if your symptoms progress or worsen, you should seek medical assistance.