Chlorine is one of the most abundant elements in nature. It is naturally occurring and present in large quantities in nature. In our daily life, chlorine is used as a disinfectant and bleach that can be used to clean substances in our homes. It is also used in measured quantities in water to prevent contamination and spread of water borne diseases. Hence, the term chlorinated water that is used to describe water that has been purified with addition of chlorine. It is also used extensively in swimming pools to prevent the spread of infection among the users of the pool and to keep the water clean and pure.
Chlorine is toxic when inhaled in large quantities and hence must be used in measured quantities and the right concentration to make it useful for human use and consumption. Usually intolerance towards chlorine is mistaken for chlorine allergy. Often, when a person has itchy and watery eyes and stuffy nose accompanied by coughing, it is assumed that the person has a chlorine allergy. However, it has to keep in mind that the person might be suffering from a lack of tolerance towards the element and not necessarily an allergy. These symptoms can also manifest when the person has inhaled chlorine fumes and this results in the eyes turning red and watery along with stuffy nose.
People whose tolerance levels towards chlorine are low usually suffer these symptoms when they swim in a pool that has been chlorinated, and because they have lesser tolerance towards chlorine, they usually display the symptoms described above. This can also happen when the clothes that one wears have been bleached with an agent that contains chlorine. This is the reason why some people do not like to use chlorine bleach on their fabrics. Medically, the chlorine allergy is described as “cell mediated or delayed allergy”. The common symptoms for this are a rash that develops all over the body and this rash is itchy and will also cause a burning kind of feeling.
When a person has chlorine allergy, he or she behaves similar to a person who has asthma attack, and hence they should be given immediate medical attention. Like an asthma attack, the chlorine allergy has to be treated as quickly as possible and without wasting time. Of course, the medical personnel would most likely ask you or the patient about the kind of exposure that he or she has had to chlorine. The treatment differs based on the fact whether the exposure is to the chlorine fumes or to liquid contaminants or bleach. Since the allergy manifests in different ways, it is better to note where and in what conditions the exposure to chlorine has taken place.
If you have had a history of chlorine allergy, you should avoid contact with substances and materials that contain chlorine. This means that you should buy yourself a water purifier that removes the chlorine content from the water that is being supplied to you. This would go a long way in reducing the incidence of chlorine allergy for you and your family.