Chlorine; You're Swimming In It!  

by Pool Builders on 09-09-2006 in Articles

Have you ever thought about what you're swimming in? And we don't mean the water!

Chlorine is the chemical most often used to keep swimming pools and Jacuzzis free of bacteria that can be hazardous to humans.

While the bacteria-killing properties of chlorine are very useful, chlorine also has some side effects that can be annoying to humans, and possibly even hazardous. Chlorine has a very distinctive smell that most find unpleasant, and some find overwhelming. There is also the 'itch factor' - chlorine can cause certain skin types to become itchy and irritated.

The hypochlorite ion in chlorine can cause many fabrics to fade quickly when not rinsed off immediately after exiting the pool. This is why a swimsuit that is not specifically designed to stand-up to chlorine and salt water may look faded and worn so early in the summer.

Make sure that the pool you are swimming in is well ventilated; extremely high amounts of chlorine gas hovering above a pool can be hazardous to your breathing.

Some companies have developed alternatives to chlorine, including other chemicals and ion generators. Some of these are good alternatives, but they don't achieve the cleanliness, oxidation levels or low price that chlorine provides.

Chlorine kills bacteria though a fairly simple chemical reaction. Chlorine kills microorganisms and bacteria by attacking the lipids in the cell walls and destroying the enzymes and structures inside the cell, rendering them oxidized and harmless.

Ideally, the level of pH in the pool should be between 7 and 8; 7.4 is ideal - this is the pH of human tears. Once acids and ions in chlorine are done cleaning the pool, they either combine with another chemical, such as ammonia, or are broken down into single atoms. Both of these processes render the chlorine harmless.

Sunlight speeds these processes up. You have to keep adding chlorine to the pool as it breaks down.

Pain Relief Following a Swim Workout

Pain after swimming is no laughing matter. You may not need a prescription to pop an aspirin or a few ibuprofen. But that doesn't mean you aren't swallowing serious medicine.

In recent years, research has shown that over-the-counter pain relievers may help prevent everything from Parkinson's disease to some forms of cancer. The rub: Overdoing it on the very same drugs could kill you.

'Most people aren't aware of the long-term effects of OTC (Over The Counter) abuse,' says C. Mel Wilcox, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama. So how do you safely harness the power of pain medications?

With this quick guide to what labels don't tell you. As always, see your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

ASPIRIN
Best for beating: Sore muscles and back pain Hidden benefits: Swallowing 100 mg daily lowers heart-attack and stroke risk, and may help prevent some forms of cancer. Danger areas: Taking more than 100 mg every day may overly thin the blood and increase the risk of cranial bleeding.

ACETAMINOPHEN
Best for beating: Headaches and toothaches. Hidden benefits: When taken daily, may prevent plaque from building up inside arteries. Danger areas: Taking more than 4,000 milligrams (mg) in a day can cause liver damage.

NAPROXEN
Best for beating: Joint pain and arthritis Hidden benefits: May reduce the risk of lung cancer when taken daily. Danger areas: Daily use can increase the risk of sunburn and sensitivity to light. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses.

IBUPROFEN
Best for beating: Fever and minor muscle aches and pains Hidden benefits: Taking 200 mg daily may help lower the risk of Parkinson's disease by 38 percent. Danger areas: Taking more than 1,200 mg per day can lead to kidney failure

Ear Drops Best for Swimmer's Ear; New Guidelines Recommend Ear Drops First, Not Oral Antibiotics, to Treat Swimmer's Ear.

Ear drops are the best medicine for swimmer's ear, according to the first-ever recommendations on how to treat the common condition.

Swimmer's ear affects about 1 in every 100-250 women each year and is caused by water trapped in the ear canal. Although associated with swimming and areas with warmer climates and higher humidity, any person can get swimmer's ear, also known in medical terms as acute otitis externa.

The trapped water causes bacteria in the ear canal to multiply and leads to infection and inflammation of the external ear canal. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and itching of the external ear canal and outer ear.

The guidelines recommend using ear drops to treat swimmer's ear locally and say that oral antibiotics should not be used unless the infection has spread outside the ear canal or if there are other symptoms that call for oral antibiotics.

A panel of experts from the fields of head and neck surgery, pediatrics, family medicine, infectious disease, internal medicine, emergency medicine, and medical informatics compiled the guidelines based on a review of research on swimmer's ear.

The results showed that swimmer's ear is often severe and can interfere with work or leisure activities. With proper therapy, the pain usually improves after one day and the condition completely resolves within four to seven days.

Experts say antiseptic and antibiotic ear drops are the preferred treatment for most cases of swimmer's ear because they offer safe, prompt, and effective relief while not promoting antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Oral antibiotics are not recommended for initial treatment of swimmer's ear because overuse of antibiotics can increase the spread ofa antibiotic-resistant bacteria, are associated with more side effects, and may be less effective than ear drops.

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