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Swimming in a chlorinated pool......

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by Timaca, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

    Yesterday I swam 6 lengths in an outdoor chlorinated pool, wearing a foam belt to help me float so it wouldn't be difficult. I've had trouble before swimming so I wanted to take it easy and not do too much. I've been having really good days for me....doing lots. I felt quite well while swimming, and decent for about an hour afterwards. Then, I really had to lie down and was not well and really couldn't move for awhile after that. Trying to watch a movie in the evening (at home) didn't work since there was too much motion going on.

    This has happened to me before when trying to swim in this outdoor pool. I love to swim....did it lots before CFS....and I've tried it some since, with not great results. Interestingly enough, I can snorkel for an hour in the ocean and not feel wiped out like this swim did to me!

    I suspect it is the chlorine.....time will tell as I experiment with swimming in a pool that has only salt water in it. But for now, as I slowly get better, I am totally amazed at how I went from pretty highly functional, to not doing well AT ALL in about 2-3 hours time.

    I did notice this thread, so I know I'm not alone.

    Wishing everyone the best,
    u&iraok and Jennifer J like this.
  2. CCC

    CCC Senior Member

    Even drinking chlorinated water can be problematic. Many decades ago, a local family had to install a rainwater tank for their very sick daughter. She couldn't tolerate the chlorine (and possibly the fluorine, but my memory is that the chloride was the big issue).
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  3. Jennifer J

    Jennifer J Senior Member

    Southern California
    Hi, @Timaca.

    It's good to hear you've been having really good days. Sorry to hear you crashed after swimming 6 laps. I hope you're feeling better today.

    I saw an alternative medical doctor several years ago, once, about my ME/CFS and other. One of the questions he asked me, and it seemed to be a big deal to him, was if I spent time in chlorinated pools as a kid and how much time. He thought it played a huge role in my health being what it is today. I can't remember now, what he said about it or how he wanted to address it with treatment. If I ever run across my notes, I'll see if I noted it and post it here.

    I wonder if snorkeling is somewhat like pacing because of stopping and looking at the fish, opposed to swimming laps. I know the times I can get out, I can't walk blocks, yet if at a grocery store, when I can, I probably walk blocks. I think it's easier because I walk a little, stop (to read labels), walk a little more, stop....

    Then again, maybe it is a salt water or a chlorine thing.

    That sounds wonderful, a salt water pool . Enjoy! I hope you can figure out what is affecting you, so you can feel well hours after swimming your laps. Let us know. Wishing you the best, tooooo. :)
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
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  4. Bansaw

    Bansaw Senior Member

    Swimming in the sea, you're getting all that lovely magnesium and those minerals. Swimming in bleach... not so good. YOu have to wonder what is being absorbed into the skin.
    u&iraok, Jennifer J, erin and 2 others like this.
  5. panckage

    panckage Senior Member

    Vancouver, BC
    Also I wonder if it has to do with other things in the environment. When I think of public pools I imagine lots of screaming kids while the ocean might be more peaceful. Are there any confounding factors such as this?
    Jennifer J and Timaca like this.
  6. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

    Thank you all for your thoughts.
    I agree to some extent about the pacing while snorkeling, making it a bit easier than swimming continuously. Sometimes, though, I have just snorkeled from point A to point B (trying to get from reef to reef) and didn't have a problem. However, one only kicks while snorkeling, so it isn't quite as vigorous....but it is close, and I have certainly snorkeled much longer than I swam on Friday! Probably 6 times as long sometimes! And I've walked on treadmills, done some hiking, some weights classes at the local athletic club. It was weird and shocking how I went from really good to pretty awful in a couple of hours!!!! Either too much exercise (maybe a mitochondrial problem?) or too much chlorine!

    The noise in the pool isn't a factor as this has happened when the pool was quieter. Noise in general doesn't bother me.....but it is a good consideration.

    I am feeling much better today. I am not eager to try sitting in a hot tub or chlorinated pool anytime soon. Neither am I eager to get into the salt water pool and try swimming (exercise). Every year I try this and every year I swear off it. This time I know I won't do it again. I thought because I was stronger and doing better it would be OK....but I was shocked back to reality. Even my husband was astounded at what happened. At some point I will try the salt water pool, but maybe swim for just 5 minutes instead of the 12 -15 minutes I was in the other pool. I do remember doing exercises in the salt water pool a couple of years ago when my husband had fractured his femur and needed to be in such a pool for therapy. That's when I bought the buoyancy belt and began doing exercises in the pool. I sure don't remember this kind of reaction so I'm suspecting the chlorine........ I do remember being on a cruise recently, and my worst afternoon was after I had spent time sitting in the ship's hot tub.......

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  7. u&iraok

    u&iraok Senior Member

    When I became an adult I noticed that I would feel ill after swimming in a pool. Don't know if it's the chlorine but since then I have rarely swam in a pool. Only the ocean. Once I went to a resort with a gorgeous amazing pool and never went in. I was a huge lover of going in the water, any water, no matter how cold. Once I went in a swamp as a child but that was just stupid. :eek:

    I dream of salt pools and mineral pools...
    Timaca likes this.
  8. I was at hotel near the indoor swimming pool. There was a strong smell of chlorine. After 10 minutes I started feeling bad - really bad. Really weak. Trouble getting air. I had to sit down immediately, but I was still smelling the chlorine, so I forced myself up and left the area. After about a half hour I was ok. Scary episode.

    I also have trouble with bleach fumes, and don't use that at all in my house.

    My mom had ME and had trouble with chlorine pools, while a lake was fine. I haven't felt inclined to try a chlorine pool since I got sick. I figure it would not go well. I did ok in a lake.

    Chlorine and fluoride are both halides which block the iodine receptors so your thyroid has trouble getting the iodine it needs. (Bromine is the other one). Chlorine and fluoride both have a negative affect on the mitochondria.

    Of course, these are both in our drinking water.

    I'm saving money to buy a Berkey water filter which filters out both chlorine and fluoride.

    So in answer to your question as to whether the chlorine made you feel bad - I would say yes. A salt water pool should be ok.
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  9. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    According to the CDC, when chlorine in swimming pools chemically combines with human sweat or urine, it forms chemicals called chloramines, which can irritate skin, eyes, and the respiratory tract when they off gas from the water.

    It's thus the chloramines that create the bad air in the swimming pool environment.

    In this article on the air quality in swimming pools says:

    As an aside, chloramines are put in around 20% of domestic tap water, including in the tap water in my area of London. I found by neutralizing the chloramines in my drinking water (can be done with ascorbic acid), it rapidly led to improvements in my irritable bowel syndrome:

    IBS Improved After Removing Chloramine (Not the Same as Chlorine) From My Drinking Water

    Chloramines are just as irritant to the mucous membranes of the intestines as they are to the eyes and the respiratory tract.
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