We often hear among swimmers, about the annoying cold symptoms they experience after a long swim. Some of them suffer from stuffy or runny noses and others from head congestion… These discomforts last for hours and maybe even days, and occur again when they’re back in the pool! But why do they happen in the first place, and how can we prevent them?
- The common fact is that these symptoms usually take place after swimming in a chlorinated pool, but not in open water. So the initial theory here is that chlorine sensitivity could be the cause. When you’re swimming, you’re breathing inches above the water surface, which is where chloramine gas resides. If the ventilation in the pool area isn’t good enough, this gas will be thicker and will have a more severe impact.
- Other than chlorine, swimming pools contain a big number of chemicals to maintain the water hygienic. These chemicals could be agitating your sinus whenever water gets into your nose, or causing ear canal inflammation when it gets into your ears.
- If you’re not keeping warm enough after getting out of the pool, or if you’re driving home with your hair still wet, then you’re putting your health at risk.
- Where there are people, there are viruses and swimming pools are usually crowded with people, so you might catch a good old cold in the traditional way!
- Try switching from a chlorinated pool to a saline pool, or at least to a pool with lower chlorine levels. Don’t be afraid to ask about the numbers! If you find it necessary, try out many pools until you find the right one for you.
- If there is a door or a window at your indoor pool, open it to allow better ventilation and reduce the amount of chloramine gas.
- Get a nose clip and/or earplugs to prevent water from getting in. Don’t mind looking “unfashionable”, it’s really worth it! You can also give saline nasal sprays and ear drops a shot; they help clear your nostrils and ear canals from any water that does get in.
- If you are cold, your body has a harder time fighting off infection. So after your swim, take a warm bath, put on some warm clothes, make sure you dry your hair and have a hot drink. This should keep you immune!
Happy swimming! 🙂
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