Chlorine Allergy

author : AMSSM
comments : 1

Sensitivity to chlorine affects swim training

Member Question from stephgob:
"Every year I put off beginning my swim training because pool time always leads to a sneeze-fest and non-stop itchy nose the following day. I do have some seasonal allergies, but after 3 years, I've noticed very specific worsening of allergies during the days after I've been in the pool. The main tip I've seen so far is to wear nose clips when I swim, but that won't work because I have a nose ring. Even taking the ring out, chlorine water would get through the pierced hole. (It sounds creepy/gross but it's true.

Any other advice? Is it actually the chlorine, or am I just insane? So far I'm just popping Zyrtec, but that's not really doing much. This is one of the reasons I tend to lean towards doing duathlons - less pool time!"

Answer by Sara Brown, DO:
Member AMSSM

An allergy to chlorine is not recognized as a true allergy, but it does sound like your body is at least sensitive to the exposure to chlorine. I’m not sure where you live, but training for your swim in a lake or ocean may help you avoid chlorine. There are also saltwater pools that contain less chlorine. An outdoor pool or a pool in a building with high ceilings can help in this situation as well because of better circulation.

If it’s not possible to avoid swimming in chlorine, make sure you rinse off before and after swimming. You could also try a mask similar to what you would use while snorkeling which covers your nose. Other people with reactions to chlorine experience reactive airway disease, where the chemicals irritate the upper airway. In this situation, an inhaler called Albuterol that you can get a prescription for from your doctor used before and/or after swimming can be beneficial. Some people with allergies experience relief from one antihistamine, but not another. If you have tried Zyrtec without relief, I would recommend trying Claritin and/or Allegra to see if either could help control your symptoms better.

Happy Training!

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date: February 29, 2016

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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