While I would much rather swim in a natural lake or the sea for that matter, I rarely turn down the opportunity to jump in a pool, especially on a hot summer day! Even though most pools are overloaded with chlorine and chemicals, I love to swim and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. That being said, I have always been a little weary of soaking in a pool of chlorine.
The concerns became a lot more prominent when I had my first son. I was so excited to bring him swimming, but so nervous to put him in a chlorinated pool. It was then that I started looking into ways that I could lessen the absorption of chlorine while he was in the pool. Now, almost 3.5 years later I still follow these steps each time I bring my boys swimming. I’ve even had mothers ask me “what are you putting on your sons’ skin?” as the water just beaded off their bodies.
Chlorine is applied to water in swimming pools to reduce bacteria buildup and to protect swimmers. DBPs, Disinfection byproducts, are formed when the chlorine found in a pool reacts with organic matter such as your skin and hair. These byproducts can have even worse ramifications than the chlorine itself.
Studies have shown a variety of health risks associated with chlorinated pools. Chlorine DBPs can cause weakening of your immune system, disruptions to your central nervous system and damaging effects to your cardiovascular system. These byproducts have also been connected with unhealthy functioning of your renal system, harmful impacts to your respiratory system, increased bladder cancer and more.
New research is also showing that children who swim in chlorinated water regularly have a higher chance of developing asthma and/or allergies.
While there are many things that I have and work to eliminate from my life, such as processed foods and refined sugars, I still have to be realistic and live in modern society. So, I know that I will end up in a chlorinated pool at least a handful of times each summer, and plenty of times throughout the winter. If you will too, here are some great tips to help protect yourself and your children from Chlorine DBPs.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
It’s really simple. Just follow these 3 easy-steps each time you go swimming. Yes, it’s a bit more effort, but it’s definitely worth it!
Rinse Before and After: Dry skin and hair are more absorbent than wet. Rinse baby with non-chlorinated water prior to swimming to lessen the amount of the element that can be absorbed. Rinse off when baby is done to remove the chlorinated water left on his/her skin.
Coconut Oil Protection: Apply a thin layer of oil to their skin (and hair) before swimming. This layer will provide a barrier between the chlorine and their skin, decreasing their exposure and the amount of chlorine that will be absorbed.
After Swim Soak: To ease potential itchiness and exposure after you are done swimming, soak your child in a warm bath soon after swimming. This is helpful, even if you did an after swim rinse. For babies over 6 months you can also put a tbsp of lavender bath salt in their bathtub with them. The lavender will help with any itch.
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