As swimmers, we cannot help being exposed to chlorine due to the nature of our sport. Some of us are lucky enough to have access to indoor and outdoor pools that use salt or UV filters, but not everyone has access to such facilities. Of course, even if you do normally swim in a pool that doesn’t use chlorine, during competition or holidays it may be impossible to avoid chlorine.
Some of the health risks associated with chlorine include higher risks of some types of cancer, asthma and other health issues. We don’t really want to scare anyone out of the water, but these are issues to be aware of if you spend a lot of time in chlorinated water. It is important to know that some of the dangers are not scientifically proven yet, but some think it is better to be safe rather than sorry. You can read more about conflicting evidence here.
A blogger known as Wellness Mama posted some advice on how to minimize the damage done by chlorine.
Here are some of her tips with some additional tips of our own:
- Use Vitamin C: Take vitamin C internally and externally helps reduce the harsh exposure to chlorine.
- Filter chlorinated drinking and shower water: Invest in filters for your drinking and showering water to minimize chlorine exposure at home.
- Swim outdoors: A lot of the harm from chlorine comes from breathing in chlorine in the air, especially at indoor pools with poor ventilation. One way to avoid this is by swimming in an outdoor pool where the chemicals cannot get trapped for you to breathe in.
- Protect Hair and Eyes: Always wear goggles and a swim cap to the pool. AMANZI Triathlete Jodie Duff always wears a silicone swim cap at training.
- Lotions and shampoos: There are a lot of shampoos, conditioners and lotions available to get chlorine out of the hair and off the body after swim sessions. There are also some lotions available that perhaps protect the skin from chlorine exposure.
- Shower after each swim session: Some swim sessions can be grueling, and some swimmers (especially younger ones) may be tempted to skip showering. It is wiser (and less smelly) to take a shower to get the chlorine off the skin.
- Avoid chlorinated and poorly ventilated indoor pools: You can ask about the systems that are in place to take care of the pool. When in doubt, if the smell of chlorine indoors is really strong, chances are the pool isn’t well ventilated. Most swimmers also know the uncomfortable feeling of swimming in a pool that uses way too much chlorine.
- Get involved: If it is a community pool, you could even get involved to get these systems updated by coordinating with other swimmers to make changes happen. Even if it is a private pool, chances are if enough customers complain the owners will take action.