The use of chlorine in swimming pools is still a matter of debate. This chemical is indeed widely used as a water purifier and germicide in swimming pools. On the other hand, chlorine is also dangerous when used in an inappropriate way.
Chlorine in swimming pools is a by-product of sodium hypochlorite, also known as chlorine. As previously mentioned, chlorine not only functions as a swimming pool water purifier, but also kills bacteria and removes impurities in the water.
Although it has many benefits, frequent exposure to chlorine in swimming pools can also have a negative impact. Chlorine can dry out your skin and cause irritation, especially if you have skin problems like eczema or psoriasis.
The use of chlorine in swimming pools can generally be dangerous when the water in the pool mixes with body substances or impurities, such as urine, sweat, skin cells, and skin care products, including deodorant or make-up.
The mixing of chlorine and these substances can reduce the effectiveness of chlorine in killing germs in swimming pools and trigger the formation of chloramines. Chloramine is what produces the smell in swimming pools or what is commonly referred to as the ‘chlorine smell’.
Inhaling and coming into direct contact with chlorine or chloramines can also trigger several health problems that you need to be aware of, such as:
Allergic reactions on the skin
Although capable of killing bacteria, chlorine can stick to the skin and hair. In fact, chlorine tends to be difficult to rinse completely from your skin and hair, so you can still smell it after a shower.
In some people, exposure to chlorine in swimming pool water can trigger an allergic skin reaction. The following are some of the symptoms that usually arise from exposure to chlorine in swimming pools:
- Red rash on the skin
- Itchy rash
- Dry and scaly skin
When a reaction occurs on the skin due to chlorine, the first step that can be taken is to wash and rinse the skin thoroughly. Avoid applying lotion because it can make skin irritation worse.
If an allergic reaction on the skin feels very disturbing, immediately see a doctor to relieve complaints.
In addition to causing allergic reactions on the skin, chlorine can also trigger asthma or allergies in the respiratory tract. This disorder is usually more common in children.
Several studies have revealed that children or adolescents who often spend time swimming in swimming pools that contain high chlorine have a greater risk of developing asthma.
Other studies have shown that chlorine can irritate the respiratory tract and make it sensitive. This can then cause asthma or other respiratory symptoms due to allergies, such as nasal irritation or coughing.
Chlorine does function to kill harmful germs in the water. Unfortunately, some viruses and bacteria may still survive in the water and cause eye infections.
Chlorine that has turned into chloramine in swimming pools can trigger eye irritation symptoms, such as:
- Red, watery and itchy eyes
- Sensitive to light
- Eye swelling
The best way to relieve symptoms of eye irritation is to rinse your eyes with clean water. Meanwhile, to reduce the danger of chlorine in the eyes, you can wear swimming goggles.
In addition, for pregnant women, if the smell of chlorine triggers nausea and causes discomfort to the skin or eyes, you should immediately stop swimming and choose a swimming pool that contains less chlorine and smells.
Swimming is one of the most popular sports. Although there is a risk of harm from chlorine in swimming pools, you should not be afraid to swim. In order to reduce exposure to chlorine, the thing that needs to be done is to limit swimming time and shower immediately after swimming.
If you have a severe allergic reaction after swimming in a pool that contains chlorine, such as persistent itching or difficulty breathing, consult a doctor immediately for proper treatment.