Thursday, 25 July 2013

Study: Too much chlorine in the pool can bring on asthma

A recent warning from Neumosur, the organization that brings together pneumologists and thoracic surgeons of Southern Spain, says that swimming in a pool with an excess of chlorine can bring on asthamtic symptoms, particularly in the very young. The amount of time spent in the pool is also a factor, as are the amount of water swallowed, not showering before and after a swim, and the warmer the water. The risk is highest, says the study,>>>
among children under 6 or 7 because this is often the age in which they don't actually swim much, but paddle and splash about instead, thus increasing swallowing and/or breathing in chlorine, the substance that can damage pulmonary epithelia (the fluid lining  the lungs) and provoke the symptoms of asthma (coughing, 'whistling chest' and breathlessness) or even unleash actual asthma in children with a predisposition to it, often inherited.

Chloramine, the 'real' name for chlorine, is generated by a mixture of hypochlorous acid - the disinfectant that results from the reaction of water with chlorine - sweat, saliva and urine as present in a pool, the latter particularly present in pools where young children congregate to swim.

Check public swimming pools
Neumosur also points out that the levels of chlorine are higher in pools with an excess of chlorine, without ventilation (covered), high temperatures and lacking in hygiene facilities. The organization advises parents to check that the pools have all the proper permits, and to avoid any pool that looks suspicious. This, they say, applies also to private pools, although the risk may be slighter because of the lower number of users.

Neumosur advises, too, that children should not be left in the water too long, that they should swallow as little water as possible (which can be taught with a little patience), and use nappies made specially for retaining urine in the water.

The younger the child is, says the organization, the more vulnerable are the lungs to damage from irritants such as chlorine. Special precaution is advised for babies being breast fed.

Asthma and sports
Asthma affects over 300 million people in the world and is the most frequent cause of chronic repiratory conditions in children. Neumosur reminds parents of asthmatic children that these should do sports, though following a series of suggestions and under the advice of their doctor.

Asthmatics can, and do, play all kinds of sports, but some are more advisable than others. Whereas swimming is perfectly alright in the vast majority of cases, it is as well to remember that asthmatic lungs can react strongly to outside stimuli, including chloramine, which can bring on an attack or even the development od asthma.

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