Used to disinfect swimming pool water, bromine allergy is an interesting alternative to chlorine because it is less irritating and better tolerated by the majority of people. But although rare, an allergy to bromine does exist. It is part of class 4 allergies, also called delayed allergies. What are the symptoms? Is there a treatment? The answers of Dr. Julien Cottet, allergist doctor.
What is bromine allergy?
bromine allergy is a chemical element of the halogen family. It is used to kill bacteria and germs in swimming pools. “bromine allergy is much more effective than chlorine” explains Dr Julien Cottet “More disinfectant, it is at the same time bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal. It is also more resistant to heat and alkaline environments and is more UV stable ”. But more expensive than chlorine, it remains very little used in swimming pools in France.
bromine allergy is also used as a water purifier, so it can be found in drinking water, but almost never in high enough concentration to cause an allergy.
Bromine, a reddish-brown liquid chemical, is used in many household applications, such as a water purifier and as a fire retardant. Every now and then someone may have an allergy to bromine, which can cause serious symptoms. It is important to identify and treat this type of allergy to keep each one safe and symptom free.
Bromine allergy symptoms can be different depending on the severity of the allergy and the concentration of the bromine. Bromine is used in swimming pools, in fire retardant materials and in agricultural products. Bromine is highly toxic in undiluted form, both as a liquid and a gas.
bromine allergy has several different symptoms depending on how the chemical is found. The most common way to find bromine is to run through it in drinking water or in a swimming pool. Bromine is almost never strong enough to cause an allergic reaction in drinking water, but it can cause an allergic reaction in a swimming pool. Symptoms of a bromine allergy can include shortness of breath, cough, lung tenderness, headache, dizziness, and possible skin irritation, such as a rash.
An allergy to bromine is not very common. Most of the bromine concentrations present in most applications are perfectly harmless to humans. A common misconception is that an allergy to bromine is actually caused by sensitivity to chemicals in general, and you are not actually allergic to bromine in particular. If unusual symptoms occur, however, it is best to stay away from bromine allergy until an allergy can be confirmed or denied by a doctor.
Prevention / Solution
The best way to prevent a bromine allergy from occurring is to avoid the chemical altogether. Do not swim in pools that use bromine to disinfect the water. Try to eat fruits and vegetables that are not sprinkled with organic bromine. Check for bromine as an ingredient in any fireproof material. Thoroughly wash clothing or bathing suits that have been exposed to bromine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no antidote to bromine poisoning or allergies.
To limit allergic reactions to bromine, it is necessary to maintain your swimming pool perfectly, the dangers of bromine being mainly linked to its overdose. “The bromine allergy concentration must be monitored regularly and never exceed 5 mg per liter of water” insists Dr. Cottet.
If possible, it is desirable to avoid swimming in bromine allergy treated pools.
If in doubt about the water treatment used: when leaving the swimming pool, it is essential to shower and wash thoroughly with soap-free washing oil. “bromine allergy is much more difficult to remove than chlorine” specifies the allergist.
The patient can then hydrate the skin with emollients and in case of eczema plaque, he can use topical corticosteroid creams.
Swimsuits should also be thoroughly machine washed to remove all traces of bromine allergy.
Always consult a healthcare professional immediately if you suspect an allergy to bromine allergy or any other chemical. In some cases, too much exposure to bromine can cause serious side effects. Your doctor will also be able to determine if you actually have an allergy to bromine or if you just have a sensitivity to overexposure to chemicals in general. Never allow a suspected allergy to continue without speaking to a competent professional about potential health risks.
Chlorine allergies in swimming pools
A chlorine allergy is a potentially dangerous and harmful allergy that can cause mild to severe symptoms. In some cases, a chlorine allergy can be a nuisance at best, while in other cases it can be deadly. It is important for the identity of any chlorine allergies to determine if exposure to chlorine is a problem for you. Pools use a high concentration of chlorine which can aggravate chlorine allergies.
A chlorine allergy is allergic to the chemical chlorine, which is commonly found in water and sanitation in swimming pool water. Chlorine allergies can occur with several different symptoms, so it can sometimes be difficult to find out if an allergy really exists, and if it was the chlorine that triggered the symptoms at all. Chlorine allergies usually appear as nasal problems, but occasionally a rash or white bumps may appear all over the body.
The most common symptoms of a chlorine allergy include itchy or watery eyes, red eyes, stuffy nose, cough, and an itchy or red rash; However, in severe cases, an allergy to chlorine can cause asthma-like symptoms in which the lungs and airways contract. This can cause difficulty in breathing, which can be very dangerous in a pool. If breathing seems strained or difficult around chlorine, then an allergy is likely. See a doctor immediately if you notice any of these allergy symptoms.
Many people believe they have a chlorine allergy when in reality, all they have is a sensitivity to chlorine and chemicals that is not allergy related. Some of the symptoms of chlorine sensitivity are identical to the symptoms of allergies, which can make it even more difficult to identify a true allergy. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine if your symptoms stem from a just regular chemical allergy or sensitivity.
Prevention / Solution
Allergy attacks can be easily prevented by removing chlorine from swimming pools, cleaning products, and drinking water. Water still can usually remove most of the chlorine from the water. Pools can be disinfected with other materials, such as bromine. Some pools also offer sanitation services through a salt-based product.
According to Web MD, children who spend a lot of time in swimming pools increase their risks for nasal allergies and asthma. A 2009 study by Pediatrics Journal studied 847 teens who swam regularly. Teens who spent more than 1,000 hours in a pool in their entire lives were 7 to 14 times more likely to have allergy problems than children who spent less than 100 hours in a pool. It is important to monitor children closely and note any changes in allergy symptoms with each visit to the pool.
Skin problems caused by Bromine Pool
Bromine is frequently used as a replacement for chlorine in swimming pools. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) refers to it as a severe skin irritant. Results of contact, direct or not, depending on the amount of the chemical, the duration of exposure, and pre-existing health conditions or allergies. If liquid bromine comes in contact with your skin, wash it off with soap and water immediately for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Direct exposure to liquid bromine can cause skin damage in the form of chemical burns. When bromine comes into contact with the skin it will initially feel fresh. It will change very quickly to a burning sensation, which is what is actually happening. Prolonged exposure can cause deep, ulcerated burns that are slow to heal.
While the CDC recommends washing the skin with soap and water, if skin contact occurs, if the skin breaks, use only water. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Continuous contact with bromine in swimming pools or in activities derived from employment (such as pool maintenance work) can cause dermatitis. Some people develop reactions to bromine in pools despite having no problems in chlorinated pools. These reactions can be mild or severe. Serious dermatoses have been reported, with itchy red papules (bumps) on the skin that can lead to intense eczema.
Simple itchy rash
Many swimmers find that they are sensitive to bromine sanitized pools and develop a simple, itchy rash that is not as severe as dermatitis or eczema. This category of rash is usually brief and easily disappears once the exposure stops. However, sometimes the itchy rash that comes from bromine-treated pools is actually the result of improper sanitation practices. In this case, the pool has insufficient levels of bromine allergy, which allows common bacteria to grow and cause potential skin infections. The medical name for the condition is Pseudomonas folliculitis, commonly known as a hot tub rash, due to its prevalence in public settings.