You often hear this term “chlorine rash” around you. It is particularly famous for people who are fond of swimming. Usually, it’s the chlorine from the swimming pool that sometimes affects people and causes a rash. Most of the times a chlorine rash is confused with swimmer’s itch or heat rash. That’s why one needs to understand what is chlorine rash and how does it look like.
Chlorine rash is caused by a reaction when your body comes in contact with chlorine. It is not practically possible for a person to be allergic to chlorine. Sometimes a person’s skin is much more sensitive than others. That’s why any contact with chlorine gives them a rash, known as chlorine rash.
This article will discuss how to identify a chlorine rash, signs and prevention strategies for a chlorine rash.
Why do people get chlorine rash?
The body develops a chlorine rash when it comes in contact with chlorine. Chlorine, as you may know, is a chemical that is used to disinfect pools. It cleans the water but it may irritate the skin, eyes, and respiration. When a person gets a rash after a contact with chlorine treated water, this condition is called irritant contact dermatitis.
Chlorine is not the only chemical to cause contact dermatitis. There are lots of other irritants as well that may cause contact dermatitis. Any exposure to chlorine can cause an itchy red skin that sometimes swells. For some people, this reaction shows signs of respiratory irritation.
It doesn’t mean that everyone will get at least one of these effects from the chlorine-treated water. Only those who are sensitive to it will develop it. Chlorine rashes are the most common when someone repeatedly exposes to this chemical.
Signs that you have a chlorine rash
The signs for a chlorine rash appear as soon as you start swimming regularly. A one-time contact with chlorine rarely causes any reaction. For dermatitis, a continuous exposure to chlorine is needed.
The signs of having a chlorine rash vary in person to person. Anyhow there are some similar signs that show up in everyone. These symptoms include
- Dry skin
- Chapped skin
- Itchy skin
- Swelling of a skin patch
- Burning/stinging like the sensation
After getting chlorine rash, if a person doesn’t take any preventive measures, and continue the exposure to chemical, the symptoms will go worse.
Is every swimming rash is caused by chlorine?
Although it causes most of the cases chlorine is not responsible for every rash that you get from swimming. There are other conditions showing similar types of rashes on the body such as swimmer’s itch. The swimmer’s itch is a medical condition that is called cercarial dermatitis.
Unlike chlorine rash, swimmers itch is not caused by chlorine. It is an allergic reaction that human body develops when it comes into contact with a parasite released by infected into the water.
People get swimmer’s itch when they swim in this infected water. Usually, this water is not even chlorinated otherwise it would have killed the parasites. That means chlorine has no role in this disease.
Interestingly many of the symptoms in both these conditions are same. But swimmer’s itch also causes a tingling of skin and its rash looks more of a pimple. This itch develops as soon as the body comes in contact with parasite-contaminated water.
If you notice someone developing a rash shortly after sitting in a hot tub, know that it is due to high temperature. This high temperature breaks the chlorine that further allows the bacteria to contaminate the water.
Mostly this bacterium is none other than Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It causes skin infections in humans. The same bacteria cause an itchy rash; it gets worse if it is near a sensitive area.
People may easily confuse a chlorine rash with heat rash. Usually, a heat rash hits you when you sit in a hot tub or swimming pool for a long time. However, both have similar symptoms.
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Is there a treatment for it?
It is easy to treat a chlorine rash at home by using only over the counter products. For example, you can use the following.
- A hydrocortisone cream
- A cream with antihistamine
- Body wash to remove chlorine
How to prevent a chlorine rash?
Following these steps can help you to prevent a chlorine rash. Take extra care if you have a sensitive skin.
- Take a shower right after you swim in a chlorinated pool
- Remove and rinse your swimming costume after swimming
- Wear dry and clean clothes
- Schedule your swimming with intervals
- Spend a limited time in chlorinated pool water
- Avoid swimming in overly chlorinated pools
When should you see a doctor?
A chlorine rash is a common problem. Normally you don’t need a doctor for its treatment. However, if a person gets a severe reaction, he should see a doctor immediately. The doctor will prescribe the relevant medicine to heal the rash.
If over the counter creams are not healing your skin rash even when you have lost exposure with chlorinated water, get it checked from a doctor. The rash may not be chlorine related rash and may have a different underlying cause.
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The final word
A chlorine rash may sometimes affect you if you spend too much time in swimming pools. The chances are positive only when the pool water is chlorine treated. These rashes are not serious and usually don’t require a treatment. Leaving it on its own and avoiding a contact with chlorinated water will heal it automatically.
Follow simple steps to prevent it. Such as shower after swimming and change into dry and clean clothes. Also, limit your time in the pool to a moderate level. Even if you get chlorine rash, using over the counter creams will treat it easily.
Rarely a chlorine rash becomes problematic. If your rash persists and is not responding to the home treatments, take an appointment from your doctor. It may have other reasons to form. Only a doctor can suggest the most effective medicine for it.