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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pool chlorine tied to lung damage in elite swimmers-study

Click on the link below to read an interesting article about elite swimmers and asthma.  There are a few important points to keep in mind:

  • Good asthma control is most  important.  If asthma is well controlled, athletes can compete at the very highest level of their sport.

  • Airway inflammation due to chlorine exposure has been seen in elite athletes who spend many hours per week swimming competitively in a pool. These changes have not been  seen in recreational swimmers. 

  • These changes in airway inflammation are seen when doing special breathing tests.  Although changes can be seen in test results, they do not seem to cause asthma symptoms for the swimmer.

  • Some children are considered to be at risk of developing asthma because they are allergic to things in the environment or have a parent or sibling with asthma.  Researchers don’t know if spending a lot of time in chlorinated water will increase that child’s risk of developing asthma problems.   For most children, the warm moist air from a pool makes it a very good sport to take up.

  • Similar changes have also been seen in Olympic athletes who compete in cold dry air, such as cross country skiers.  The depth and rate of breathing leads to the athlete breathing in many more allergens (for example pollens and mold) and dust particles than the non-competitive person.  These particulates can be irritating to the airways and cause asthma symptoms. Despite this, these athletes are able to compete at the very highest level of their sport.

Remember, to “Ask the Researcher” your questions if you have any!

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