Water is a symbol of purity, but it seems hard to believe. If you look at the present water problems, people around the globe are suffering.
Water problems include water-borne illnesses such as diarrhea, hepatitis a, cholera, and others. Due to the uncontrolled increase in these illnesses, the government and the citizens are looking for ways to treat and clean their waters.
One of the well-known water treatments used by the government in treating the water supplied to their citizens is chlorinating the water.
Chlorine is a hazardous substance often described as having a strong choking scent. It is poisonous and corrosive. When combined with other chemicals, this chemical purifies metals, bleaches materials, and is mixed to produce another chemical. It also helps disinfect water.
Water chlorination is a method that mixes chlorine and water. This mixture can kill certain bacteria and other pathogens present in tap waters. It also helps prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses, such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and many more.
The effects depend on how long their exposure to chemicals and the amount ingested. When you intake large volumes of chlorinated water, it could slow down regular brain activity. Also, develop heart diseases, liver or kidney cancer, unconsciousness, or even death.
Though chlorinating water seems to be a good method, not everybody can tolerate the aggressiveness of such chemicals. It may even become hazardous rather helpful. The most common complaint the majority have is developing chlorine allergies.
What is Chlorine?
Chlorine is a natural element. It’s a chemical used in industry and household cleaning products. It is one of the ten highly produced chemicals in the United States. At room temperature, chlorine is a gas with a yellow-green color and a pungent odor similar to bleach. Chlorine for storage is pressurized but amber-colored when it is shipped. It is not usually flammable but, when exposed to other chemicals, may form explosive compounds.
In small quantities, either liquid or gas may be poisonous. It is abundant in nature in its chloride to form found as salts in the earth. Many living things, including humans, need chlorine, but there is a limit before it becomes hazardous.
How is Chlorine Used?
Chlorine has multiple uses. It can stretch from disinfection of water, sanitation of sewage, and industrial waste. Chlorine is an ingredient in the production of paper and cloth as a bleaching agent. It’s also involved in cleaning products such as household bleach. Chlorine is used to prepare chlorides, chlorinated solvents, pesticides, synthetics rubbers, polymers, and refrigerants.
How Are People Exposed to Chlorine?
Due to its wide uses in industrial and commercial locations, exposure to chlorine could occur from accidental spills or release. Even taking a long bath or shower increases a person’s risk for chlorine exposure.
One can also be exposed through a deliberate terrorist attack. Chlorine in water may enter the body through skin absorption or the ears, nose, and eyes. The most harmful route of exposure is from breathing chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is heavier than air and remains in low-lying areas unless wind or other conditions provide air movement.
Chlorine has long been used to disinfect water because it controls or kills the growth of water-borne pathogens such as E.coli and Giardia. One may need to be mindful whether you are showering or drinking tap water. Exposure may also result from skin contact or eye contact with chlorine gas or swallowing food or water contaminated with chlorine.
3 Common Exposure to Chlorine:
Breathing in the fumes of chlorine gas
Drinking and eating
Absorption through the skin from water and the air
One should note that people sitting nearby the pool sunbathing or socializing can still be exposed to chlorine. Non-swimmers have tested positive for high trichloramine levels- an irritating odor found as a disinfection by-product in chlorinated swimming pools. This shows strong caution for people to some of the clear dangers of chlorine exposure.
What Happens to Chlorine in the Body?
What are the Immediate Health Effects of Chlorine Exposure?
Harmful chlorine exposure coming from inhalation can start to manifest in the body from seconds to minutes. The following are the most common symptoms of chlorine exposure:
The severity of the health effects depends on the route of exposure, the dose, and the duration of exposure to chlorine. Research has shown that long-term chlorine exposure leads to the production of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are carcinogenic and can cause tremendous damage to cells.
Breathing high chlorine levels may cause fluid build-up in the lungs, causing pulmonary edema where the lungs swell due to excessive fluid trapped. This development may be delayed to several hours after exposure to chlorine. Also, contact with compressed liquid chlorine may cause frostbite of the skin and eyes.
What is Chlorine Allergy?
Chlorine allergy refers to a person’s unusual reaction to chlorine, whether internal or external. It belongs to the fourth type of allergy, where the manifestation of symptoms is delayed. This makes it difficult for some to realize that they are already suffering from chlorine allergy.
When you look into your glass of crystal clear water or to the sparkly swimming pool, thinking that it is chlorinated, your immediate thought is it’s cleaner than tap water. However, chlorine being an aggressive type of chemical, might not be good for everyone, especially when on a higher dose.
You can’t be allergic to chlorine, yet you can be delicate or have a reaction. Whenever you are sensitive, would it be a good idea for you to quit swimming? No, rather, you should discover and treat the reason for your sensitivity and discover a remedy.
You believe a chlorine allergy may be basic asthma, work out instigated bronchoconstriction (EIB), or bronchospasm. Your runny nose may be because of other hidden sensitivity issues.
Difference Between Chlorine Allergy and Chlorine Sensitivity
Chlorine sensitivity is when you experience skin redness, tenderness, or itching. In some cases, you can develop rash, hives, or crusting. Also called chlorine rash, a red, itchy rash appears after exposure to chlorinated pools or hot tubs. The rash can seem raised and scaly. The skin can be swollen or tender. Hives may also develop in some cases.
Although it is mistaken as ‘chlorine allergy,’ you don’t have a true chlorine allergy but rather sensitive to it. A chlorine rash is just a reaction to your sensitivity to chlorine.
When you spend lots of time in the pool, you are a prime candidate to develop a chlorine rash. The more exposure, the more chances of developing it. People responsible for putting chlorine into the pool may develop a rash if some of the chlorine gets into their skin.
Some people are more sensitive to chlorine than others. Such people who have eczema or psoriasis may be more susceptible to developing chlorine rash because their skin is already sensitized.
Symptoms of Chlorine Sensitivity
Its symptoms can vary in intensity from person to person. However, symptoms may be the same as other types of rashes caused by irritants.
Chlorine rash symptoms can include:
- Itchy, red, swollen, or scaly patches of skin
- Dry or chapped skin that may grow worse with repeated exposure to chlorine
- Burning, stinging, or itching skin
- The skin may crack or bleed after repeated contact with chlorine
- Blisters or sores
If chlorine exposure continues or if untreated immediately, symptoms will become worse.
Chlorine allergy is often developed from chlorine sensitivity and is more serious but can be treated with medical care.
According to Dr. Ryu of Midwest Allergy Asthma and Immunology Associates, you experience chlorine sensitivity when you have skin issues, respiratory or nasal problems. These respiratory problems may present as cough and may worsen shortness of breath or even cough, wheezing, or chest tightness. When these symptoms occur, you have become allergic to chlorine. Immediately see an allergist make sure it is not exercise-induced asthma.
Nasal symptoms consist of runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching due to the irritant nature of chlorine or seasonal allergies. Studies have found that elite swimmers have increased airway inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness (constriction of airways) due to chronic chlorine exposure. Dr. Ryu suggests having allergy testing and, if proven negative, then using a nose clip when swimming may help.
When you experience allergy-like symptoms such as asthma or exercise-induced asthma, seeing an allergist can help you control your symptoms to continue swimming.
Other Cause of Chlorine Allergy
Chlorine in water, as in swimming pools, can be induced or triggered into another type of substance called chloramines. Chloramine is a result when chlorine reacts with the sweat, urine, and oils in water. Some chloramines are irritants to the skin and eyes. Even chloramines can release into the air around the pool, affecting your nose, throat, and lungs. This is noticed when you smell the typical “pool odor” common in many indoor swimming facilities.
The facility must be well-ventilated to expel airborne chloramines and to draw fresh air. Pool staff must monitor this and regulate the amount of chlorine in the pool to control chloramine exposure.
Effects of Chlorine Allergy
Due to the severe problems in the water, the higher authorities chlorinate the water for the residents to enjoy a cleaner version of it. To be consumed for their daily needs and chores.
Though we are assured that the chlorine in our water is not harmful, how could we take for granted the thought that poison or hazardous chemicals will always be harmful? No matter how small the dosage is, it would surely affect our body in any way.
It would indeed fulfill its mission to clean the water. Yet, when you try to see how effectively it could clean metals or piping, how much more when you’re rubbing it on your body. Or worse, drinking it.
The symptoms of chlorine allergy may be considered as its effect. A person suffering from this type of allergy may be affected internally or externally.
External symptoms are manifested by irritation of the eyes, dry skin, and sneezing. It also includes rashes, redness of the skin, or severe skin lesions.Internal symptoms, however, are more worrying than external ones. It includes trouble in breathing, tightness of the chest, stuffy nose, constant coughing, nausea, and other respiratory failures. Long term effect includes lower sperm count, kidney problems, higher risk of miscarriage, or liver problems.
How to Treat Chlorine Allergy Attack
Whenever you suspect a serious allergic reaction, look for urgent emergency care. Skin sensitivity is normally treated by washing the affected area with clean water. To attempt to remove any hints of the rest of the irritant, i.e., cleaning item or pool water.
Similarly, you should see your doctor about your allergy if:
- You aren’t sure if your allergy was brought about by chlorine.
- You have extreme hives or hives that won’t disappear with treatment.
- Any serious allergic reaction permits emergency treatment.
- Your rash isn’t improving with home treatment.
- Your rash is spreading, deteriorating, or appears to be extreme.
Home Remedies for Chlorine Allergy Effects
To aid and observe the effects of chlorine allergy, it may be better to treat it at home first. To help soothe the inflamed skin, you can try these self-care approaches.
Avoid scratching. Trim your nails. After that, if you still can’t help but scratch it, cover it with a dressing or cloth.
Apply a wet or cool compress. Moisten soft washcloths, then hold them on the rash area for 15-30 minutes. This soothes your skin and the itch. Repeat as many times as needed in a day.
Soak in a comfortably cool bath. Sprinkle the water with baking soda or an oatmeal-based bath product
Protect your hands. When applying treatment, please wash your hands clean and dry them well. Also, apply moisturizers on the affected area throughout the day. If you can’t help, choose gloves based on what you’re protecting your hands from. For instance, plastic gloves lined with cotton are good if your hands are often wet.
Use oatmeal bath. Aside from their moisturizing properties, oats can also relieve itchiness. It works as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant to relieve the roughness, dryness, and itchiness. Some of its oils work together to help repair skin. Such oils such as oleic oil, linoleic oil, and avenanthramides help reduce cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that cause inflammation.
Use aloe vera. It has healing properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antiviral, and antioxidants. Cut the leaves to get the gel and apply it to a clean-washed affected area. This soothes the irritated and itchy skin.
Apply coconut oil. Known as a natural moisturizer, it is high in saturated fats that have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Virgin (unprocessed) coconut oil is best because it has potent healing properties. It’s safe to apply on the skin or scalp. Also, please take note that some people are allergic to it. Apply it to your inner arm. If no allergic reactions happen, you may continue to apply it.
Use baking soda. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is an all-time and multi-purpose household remedy. It can also help soothe rashes, poison ivy, or bug bites.
Use tea tree oil or other plant oils. This traditional herb used by locals is a common antiseptic and anti-inflammatory remedy. To extract it, it is steam-distilled from the plant. This can be diluted by mixing with other oils such as olive or coconut oil or even with your moisturizer. Studies have shown the antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil. Other plant oils you can use are chamomile, jojoba oil, argan oil, and sunflower oil.
Apple cider vinegar relieves the itch. A common household remedy, apple cider vinegar has plenty of benefits that include antimicrobial properties. You can dilute it with water to relieve the itch on your skin (even on the scalp).
How to Eliminate Chlorine in Water
First, avoid chlorine in any way possible. If you have a pool, don’t put chlorine to kill bacteria. Instead, use natural products whenever possible.
Consider a water purification system for your home. It can help eliminate toxins before the water is used for cooking, cleaning, showering, and bath.
Another help is to use water filters in sinks and bathtubs. Water filters are a great way to ensure that the whole family is protected from the effects of chlorine exposure.
After being exposed to chlorine, rinse or cleanse your body immediately. Use organic or all-natural soaps and detergents, as these are better for your skin. There are many non-toxic soaps available.
Always drink purified water. The oxygenated purified water that can provide the body with oxygen is better.
Get Rid of Chlorine: The Berkey Water Filtration System
Since most nations in the world use chlorination of water, what could you do? As someone who wants clean water yet a healthy body. They say prevention is better than cure. Preventing chlorinated water from getting into your body or your skin is something we need to put effort into.