Have you ever heard of a swimmer who is allergic to chlorine? Well, many people have and his name is Ian Thorpe. This guy, also known as the THORPEDO, is an Australian freestyle swimmer who has won five Olympic Gold medals and the first person to ever win six gold medals in one world championship. This is an amazing achievement considering the fact that he used to be allergic to chlorine during his childhood days.
In the early years, he used to compete and win during competitions by holding his head above the water. Now he is retired and is living an allergy free life. When you think about the way Thorpe has battled through his condition, it makes you wonder how he did it and to what extent did his allergy occur. Chlorine allergy is a type of allergy in which a person has a hypersensitive reaction which results in a number of symptoms (discussed later in the article).
The Cause of Chlorine Allergy
The cause of the allergy to chlorine on the body is still unknown. Scientists have yet to find the causative factor of this type of allergy because chlorine, in its purest form, does not contain any type of protein. Although this chemical may be considered as one of the most toxic chemicals known to man, we still use this chemical in our daily lives. Chlorine is mostly the element used in many disinfectants that are mostly used in our bathrooms. Chlorine is also present in the food that we eat as it is made in combination of sodium to form salts. This chemical is also used in swimming pools as a form of disinfectant.
Signs and Symptoms of Chlorine Allergy
Can you imagine swimming in the pool with different people and the water has not been disinfected? You would probably leave the water with an infection if this is the case. The most common signs and symptoms of chlorine allergy are skin redness which is mostly noticeable after a few minutes when you get out of the swimming pool, here is the list of some the symptoms you may notice:
- Skin itching
- Red patchy skin
- Dry skin or a rash similar to eczema
- Reddening of the eyes with subsequent burning sensation
- Irritation in the nasal passages
- Irritation and sometimes inflammation of the lips
- Sneezing, coughing, and flu like symptoms.
These are the few common symptoms associated with this type of allergy. The population of people affected by this type of allergy is very small and the symptoms experienced could also be due to other factors.
What Are The Risks?
One of the main worries is long term side effects or health problems. Fortunately there are no long term risks and although many people mention anaphalactic shocks as a danger, the chances of having an anaphylactic shock is very rare and there have been minimal records found regarding these cases. Those affected by this allergy usually get over it in a few years just like how Ian Thorpe did. The severity of the condition might vary from one individual to another and the only discomfort you should experience are the symptoms listed above which should dissipate in time.
Chlorine Allergy Treatment – Slow and Gradual Desensitization
As for those who are not concerned with an allergy to chlorine, they should be encouraged to be exposed to chlorinated water as much as possible but not to the extent that it can cause severe symptoms. This process is called desensitization and it works well among individuals granted that they be exposed gradually. Ian Thorpe may have been allergic to chlorine but it did not stop him from being desensitized and from winning the golds.
The Desensitization Process – How Chlorine Water Filter Systems Can Help
To aid your desensitization process, many people recommend using water filtration systems to cut out chlorine from your life in the beginning of your desensitization process (while you are at your most sensitive to chlorine). There are a number of chlorine water filter systems that can be purchased online. Depending on the seriousness of your symptoms, you can choose to filter different sources of water and then gradually introduce yourself back to them.
You may want to filter water for your faucet or taps and also purchase a filter for shower water. Or you may just want a filter for drinking water. After a few weeks of filtering one source, you may want to take the filter off and see if there is an improvement. Before you know it, you will be desensitized from chlorine and you will not have to use the filters again.
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