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Summer Swimming and Asthma: How Chlorine Can Affect You

For many people, the distinctive aroma of chlorine in the air near a swimming pool is enough to bring about positive memories of summertime fun. Chlorine can also be an irritant for people who suffer from asthma. Below, you can read about some possible side effects of chlorinated water, and if you should avoid swimming altogether because of an asthma diagnosis.

Symptoms for People With Asthma

After exposure to chlorine, people who suffer from asthma may be more likely to experience symptoms such as tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, wheezing, and nasal congestion. Excessive coughing could also be a problem especially when laughing, during exercise, or at night.

Put Chlorine Levels in Perspective

People don’t usually pay much attention to the chlorine concentration in a swimming pool. For someone living with asthma though, the amount of chlorine in the water could make a significant difference in overall enjoyment.

A chlorine level of 1.0 parts per million (PPM) is considered high, and there are some variations for recommended chlorination levels. It’s suggested that some private pool owners keep the chlorine content at 2.0 PPM, so you may want to speak up about your sensitivity to chlorine before going swimming in a neighbor’s pool.

A chlorine level of 0.5 PPM is at the low end of the spectrum, and anything below that is considered ideal for asthma sufferers.

Also, remember that saltwater pools are becoming more and more popular. Check with your local pools to see if there are any saltwater options in your area.

Should You Avoid Swimming Pools?

Swimming can be a fantastic form of exercise, even if you have asthma. Unless you have been advised otherwise, there’s probably no reason to completely steer clear of swimming pools without first determining whether or not you are sensitive to chlorine. Speaking to your physician should help reach that conclusion, and it may also be necessary to meet with an allergist.

Hopefully the information you’ve just read will make you feel more informed before jumping in a swimming pool to cool off during this summer’s most sweltering days.

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