Chlorine is one of the most widely used chemicals in industrial and household applications. It was discovered in 1774, by the Swedish chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele, and named by Sir Humphry Davy in 1810. Chlorine is a reactive element, and hence is never found alone (in its elemental form) in nature. It is prepared for commercial use by the way of passing electricity through sodium chloride, or molten sodium chloride water solution. It comes in the form of granules, powder, liquid, and gas. Its applications are in plenty – foods, medicines, antiseptics, insecticides, textiles, dyes, explosives, metals, solvents, paints, paper, plastics, refrigerants, and as a water purifier. As it is used in so many products and ways, it is natural that it may trigger some form of an allergic reaction in us. Such a reaction usually occurs when the immune system reacts by triggering an adverse reaction to a substance that contains chlorine, which the immune system sees as hazardous to the body. Learn more about the different chlorine allergy symptoms.
The List of Symptoms
Most reactions that occur in people after they have been exposed to chlorine are generally mild. However, it is important to recognize allergies, and find ways to manage and prevent them from reoccurring.
Respiratory Problems: Exposure to chlorine affects the respiratory system of an individual. These people generally suffer from symptoms mimicking asthma, like wheezing, coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, a feeling of tightness in the chest, and in some extreme cases, maybe get a feeling of suffocation.
Watery Eyes: Eyes being very sensitive, get affected or irritated very quickly when exposed to irritants. When an individual comes in contact with chlorinated water, or the gas variant of chlorine, the eyes get irritated, and start developing swelling, pain, redness, burning, and itching. Some people also experience falling of their eye lashes, which is accompanied by constant watering of the eyes.
Skin Dryness: Unusual dryness of the skin is perhaps the first exhibited sign. Dry skin will be felt immediately after a person comes in contact with chlorinated water or household products that include it. The infected area feels tight, itchy, and goes red, and in some cases, may even begin to peel.
Nausea: An exposed person may feel nauseated and/or vomit, if the quantity of the chlorine one is exposed to is high. Sometimes swallowing or directly breathing in chlorine gases or fumes make a person feel dizzy and also delusional for a short period of time.
Itching: Besides experiencing skin dryness, some may also develop rashes or lesions with or without water in them. This results in itching of the lesion. For most, it develops within an hour of chlorine contact. Generally, the localized rash will disappear within a couple of hours, but if the volume of contact is large, or a continuous one, then the rash can begin to get itchy and the skin may start to peel.
Chlorine is an irritant in general, so as soon as one comes in contact with it, one must wash it off, or apply a soothing cream. Most chlorine allergy occurs in people who visit swimming pools very regularly, so make sure you maintain the chlorine level in your swimming pool. Discard clothes that have been washed in detergents that have a high level of chlorine, and take a wash after every swim. These allergy symptoms are generally not persistent, but its best to see a doctor to rule out any complication that prolonged exposure could cause.