Swimming Pools: Good or Bad for Asthmatics?   

by Pool Builders on 11-24-2013 in Articles

Asthma affects more than 22 million people in the United States and about 300 million worldwide. It most often begins in childhood, affecting about 6 million children in the US. Signs of asthma are usually seen in children around age five. Symptoms include wheezing associated with difficulty breathing. Asthma is an incurable disease which disrupts breathing when airways to the lungs become inflamed and become more narrow. Asthma attacks frequently occur as a result of allergies, colds or excessive exercise.
According to a joint medical investigation undertaken by the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellent for Chronic Respiratory Disease and Lung Aging, the Royal Hobart Hospital Queensland Institute of Medical Research and the University of Melbourne €swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for people with asthma - especially children€ (Beggs, 2012). The most interesting part is that the report notes that swimming is less likely to cause asthma attacks because swimmers are breathing in air near the surface of the water that is warmer and moister than typical air conditions. Also, because of the nature of swimming it can also increase lung volume, and muscle tone, as well as work to develop good breathing techniques. After reviewing 17 studies the researchers found moderate evidence for lung function improvement in children and adolescents. They also found high evidence for improved cardiopulmonary fitness (which means improved heart and lung finesses when tested during exercise).
So get your asthmatic children in the pool! Not so fast. Although swimming has been deemed the best exercise for children with asthma, even reducing attacks, but swimming in certain contexts has also been linked to causing asthma.
Researchers Cotter and Ryan from the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, UCC published a study in the Irish Medical Journal they found that €the greater the number of years a boy had been attending an indoor, chlorinated pool, the greater the likelihood of wheezing in the last 12 months or had asthma€ (Cotter, 2009). Shockingly, the fact that kids were swimming in a chlorinated pool was far more detrimental than having a parent who smoked cigarettes - which had no connection whatsoever. So chlorine is worse than carcinogenic smoke fumes.
Well that's ironic. Swimming is a great exercise for asthmatic kids for reducing asthma attacks, but swimming in chlorine pools could cause asthma. The irony is solved when you consider other pool sanitizing options. Freshwater - Oxidation&Ionization by means of Electrolysis - is one of the better options. Remember that saltwater chlorinators still create chlorine and this, just like a chlorine pool, hovers above the water level - right at the breathing level. For more information on Oxidation/Ionization through Electrolysis see (insert link to other post here on our site).Keeping kids (and adults) at their healthiest is not always easy work. ClearSwim wants to make it as easy as possible. Additional swimming tips are made available on the ClearSwim news site. More information on asthma can be found at http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/asthma/.

Beggs et al., Swimming training benefits children and adolescents with asthma: results of a systematic review. NHMRC Centre of Research Excellent for Chronic Respiratory Disease and Lung Aging, the Royal Hobart Hospital Queensland Institute of Medical Research and the University of Melbourne, 2012. [Online] Available at: http://www.thoracic.org.au/imagesDB/wysiwyg/SundayWF11530-JuliaWalters-O-020.pdf [22 Sept 2013].

Cotter, A., Ryan, CA. The pool chlorine hypothesis and asthma among boys. Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, UCC, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. Irish Medical Journal [2009, 102(3):79-82] [Online] Available at: http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/19489195 [22 Sept 2013].

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