Is chlorine safe for those with asthma?

Is chlorine safe for those with asthma?

Chlorine is added to pool water to help kill bacteria and keep the water safe for swimmers. However, it can produce discomfort for swimmers when an excessive amount is added to the water or when it mixes with other elements to become chloramine. Some people, including those with asthma, can be more sensitive than others to its effects. While some reports show that chloramine can aggravate the lungs of people with asthma, the InTheSwim Pool Blog noted that the act of swimming can actually be quite beneficial for those with the condition.

Asthma and chlorine
Chlorine on its own has no harmful effect on people with asthma, explained the source. On the other hand, chloramine – a mixture of chlorine and ammonia – can turn into trihalomethane, which is a known irritant for those with the condition.  Significantly high levels of trihalomethane in the air and water can cause asthma in healthy individuals as well. Proper pool maintenance should keep these levels at bay and provide for a safe environment with high air and water quality.

One indication of chloramine is a strong smell of chlorine or other chemicals; but scent shouldn’t be the only method for checking levels. Instead, be sure to test the water throughout the day to make sure it’s free of the substance and safe for swimmers.

Despite these concerns, people with asthma don’t necessarily need to cut swimming from their list of hobbies, noted the source. In fact, the moisture in the air can help ease symptoms of the condition. Also, since some asthma attacks can be worsened with physical activity, the act of swimming is a low-impact way of getting exercise without overexerting oneself. People should check with their doctor to make sure they can safely swim in a pool, and always keep an inhaler close-by.

Health benefits of swimming
Not only is swimming a great workout for those with asthma, but it’s also beneficial for people with a variety of serious illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the activity can help people with arthritis, as the water allows individuals to exercise without worsening their conditions. It can also help people with fibromyalgia by reducing anxiety and depression. Swimming is often considered a meditative activity and can be performed either alone or with a group of people.

Diabetes and heart disease are chronic illnesses that plague many Americans. The CDC explained that swimming is a light activity that can help with the management of these diseases without the likelihood of overexertion. Furthermore, the act of swimming can help prevent future chronic illness and can even help you live longer. Swimmers have half the risk of death compared to those who are inactive.

While it’s a low impact activity that lends itself to those with injuries and medical issues, swimming can also be quite rigorous and is an effective method of weight loss. Jane Moore, M.D., a physician and avid swimmer, explained to that the level of difficulty is all in the swimmer’s control.

“People who consistently swim strenuously enough to be out of breath when they finish and elevate their heart rate do burn calories and lose weight,” Moore told “The key is to push yourself a bit.”

Swimming laps is just one way for people to push themselves in the pool. To increase the challenge, swimmers can add weights, increase reps and do land exercises in the water. Holding onto the side of the pool and kicking is a great way to tone legs and obliques and get a body that looks like you spent hours in the gym.