Could an Allergy to Chlorine be Affecting Your Everyday Health?

Do you have itchy, watery eyes? A stuffy nose along with coughing? Do you develop a rash or redness or a burning itchy feeling on your skin? Or do you just have very dry skin? Have you noticed this happens more intensely after a shower?

You might have an allergy to chlorine. (Well, with that said, some experts don’t classify a chlorine reaction as a bone fide “allergy” because it’s not a histamine-releasing reaction. Other experts categorize it as a type-4, or cell-mediated allergy. And yet others simply call it chlorine intolerance or chlorine sensitivity.) But if you are suffering from it, you don’t care what it’s called. You just want relief from it.

Allergy to chlorineMost people don’t show their sensitivity by simply drinking chlorinated water. But in the shower it’s a whole different story for those of us with chlorine intolerance. That’s because, our two largest organs – the lungs and the epidermis, or skin – is exposed to much higher concentrations of chlorine than is present in simple tap water. “But wait,” you say, “My shower water IS tap water.” Well yes, that’s true, however in drinking water the chlorine remains dissolved. You consume it and filter it through your internal filters – your intestines, kidneys, liver, bladder and colon. You don’t have the chance to “feel” the full effect.

But once you raise the temperature of that “tap water”, atomize it as a shower head does, you are causing the chlorine to dissipate from the water and form a gaseous cloud. Then, with the shower door shut, you trap those toxic fumes in a chamber. The moisture in the shower causes your airways to open, thus delivering more of that noxious gas into your respiratory system. The warmth of the shower opens the pores of your skin leading to greater absorption into your epidermis.

You know the results: everything from minor skin irritation to a severe burning rash; from a minor discomfort in your throat to a scary asthma attack.

So what can you do if you or a loved one is suffering from an allergy to chlorine? You can’t realistically remove YOU from the shower, but you CAN remove the chlorine from your shower. The water company injected the chlorine into the water supply to kill organisms. (And that’s a good thing.) But, once the water is delivered through the city water system to your house, the chlorine has done its job and is no longer needed – indeed, no longer wanted. There are several ways to remove chlorine from household water. By far, the best method is to install a whole house water filter at the point of entry and remove the chlorine going to every faucet in your house. The alternative is to install multiple point-of-use filters, such as a good shower head filter (one in each shower) and a drinking water filter(s). But that becomes too many filters to maintain. That’s why I always recommend a whole house filter to alleviate chlorine allergy symptoms.