When temperatures soar, there are few activities as satisfying as taking a cooling, refreshing swim. Not only does it cool you down, swimming provides excellent exercise and can also be a stress-busting, even meditative, experience for many people.
For those of us not lucky enough to live by a lake or ocean, swimming pools may be our only reasonable option to enjoy the water. However, the chlorine saturating most pools can be hazardous to our health, so it is important to take certain precautions.
Besides skin and eye irritation, chlorine is linked to a number of potentially serious health conditions. One of these is respiratory irritation. According to Dr. Mercola, “chlorinated pools irritate the airways of swimmers, exerting a strong additive effect on the development of asthma and respiratory allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis.”
Chlorine exposure has also been linked to digestive disturbances, hormonal disruption in boys, and may even pave the way for the development of certain cancers. Additionally, when chlorine combines with sweat, bacteria, sunscreen and other organic compounds, chloramine gases form. Chloramines can lead to respiratory issues, which may become severe, especially in the case of poorly-ventilated indoor pools.
If your only option for a swim this summer is a pool, take the following four precautions to ensure you are as protected as possible.
Swim in pools that use chlorine alternatives whenever possible
If you live in a larger area with several swimming pool options, search for one that uses salt water, ionization or UV. These types of pools use less chlorine, and have lower chemical content in general.
If you have a choice between an indoor and outdoor pool, choose outdoors. Indoor pools lead to more chlorine exposure, due to the fumes trapped in the air around the pool. If indoors is your only option, make sure it is well-ventilated, and leave if you start feeling lightheaded or experience a sore throat or other respiratory symptoms.
Protect your skin with coconut oil
Organic coconut oil, when applied to the skin, can create a barrier to help protect you from chlorine and other pool chemicals. Chlorine tends to strip away the acid mantle of the skin, the oily film that protects the skin from contaminants. Using a thin layer of coconut oil just before jumping in the pool gives your skin’s acid mantle an extra reinforcement.
Coconut oil also provides your skin with nutrients to combat oxidative stress, and keeps it in its healthiest possible condition.
Load up on vitamin C
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that works to boost the immune system, also has a chemical structure that works to help neutralize chlorine and its damaging effects. This vitamin can be beneficial both internally and externally. For your summer diet, be sure to add plenty of vitamin C-rich foods to your meals, including strawberries, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, papayas and citrus fruits.
Before you hit the pool, try mixing a bit of powdered vitamin C crystals (make sure they are pure, with no chemical additives) into your coconut oil before applying to your skin.
Rinsing your body before you enter the pool is just as important as rinsing afterwards. Rinsing in clean water helps to saturate your skin, so that it absorbs less chlorinated water once you start swimming. After you rinse, apply your coconut oil/vitamin C mixture.
When you’re done swimming for the day, be sure to rinse your skin and hair thoroughly, bathing with an organic soap or shampoo, and then apply more coconut oil to nourish your skin and soothe any damage it may have experienced.
– The Alternative Daily