Chlorine Cough- Dangers of Too Much Chlorine in Pools 2023

What does Chlorine do?

Chlorine kills bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, parasites like Giardia, and viruses that can cause diarrhea and ear infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it depends on the germ, but it can kill germs in seconds to 45 minutes. In the end, it’s essential to have a certain level of chlorine in your pool to keep it healthy and safe. Otherwise, it can lead to diseases like chlorine cough, burning sensation and irritation in the eyes.

Irritated Eyes




Dr. Yurin suggests that chlorine usually  floats above the pool’s surface because it is heavier than air. This can lead to a strong odor, and if it comes in contact with your eyes, it can cause stinging and irritation.

Furthermore, if chlorine gets into your eyes, it can wash away the tear film that keeps your eye’s surface moist and clear, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

However, ‘generally, it’s not a sign of too much chlorine, but rather that there isn’t enough chlorine,’ says Dr. Yurin. In short, maintaining a proper balance of water is essential. Nevertheless, according to the CDC, testing for excessive levels of chlorine can lead to symptoms like eye irritation or water retention. Common chlorine levels should not be the cause of these effects.”

Lung Irritation

Dr. Yurin advises that both chlorine and chloramine gases can be irritating to the respiratory system. Consequently, exposure to unbalanced chlorine in swimming pools may lead to harmful effects like burning sensation in the lungs, especially if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or lung injuries causing chlorine cough

.According to the CDC, other symptoms may include nasal irritation, coughing, and wheezing.


 Dry Skin, Hair and Nails

The good news is that when you take proper care of the swimming pool, a brief swim won’t harm your skin. A board-certified dermatologist from West Chest, New York’s West Med Medical Group confirms this. However, even if the chlorine level in your pool is safe, you may still face some secondary effects if you swim excessively. “People who swim frequently and for extended periods may have their skin and hair stripped of chlorine, which can result in dryness, irritation, and even hair breakage,” says Dr. Owens.

While some people may think that chlorine has benefits for the skin, this isn’t true. Chlorine will only create irritation and dry it out. They say that if there’s an excessive amount of chlorine in the pool, there’s an increased risk of skin and hair becoming dry, along with the potential for itching and brittle nails. Another sign of excessive chlorine in the pool is when your golden hair turns green.

Chlorine Poisoning

Excessive chlorine caused Chlorine rash

For example, in 2018, after the addition of extra chlorine to the swimming pool of a swimming school in California, information indicates that 19 adults and children were taken to the hospital due to past incidents.

According to the CDC, the signs of excessive chlorine use include:

  1. Blurred vision
  2. Red and blistering skin (or swimming pool/chlorine rash)
  3. Burning sensation irritation in the nose, throat, and eyes
  4. Coughing and difficulty breathing
  5. Nausea
  6. Vomiting

Rinsing your eyes (if affected) with plain water for 10 to 15 minutes when exposed to fresh air can help, but if the symptoms persist or worsen, please consult a doctor.


Every year, more than 4,500 people are rushed to emergency rooms, according to the CDC. This often happens in households with children and young adults when chemicals like chlorine are used incorrectly.

“Read the instructions carefully, as there are many chlorine products available here. For example, powder and liquid chlorine are both used differently,” says Dr. Yuri.

Storage is also important. They suggest, for instance, keeping chlorine in a safe place, whether it’s in a container or a tray, to prevent any spills. Similarly, open chlorine packages in fa well-ventilated area. When adding chlorine to the pool, follow the instructions with caution.”

Can Indoor Pools Cause Chlorine Cough?

Respiratory problems may result from germ-killing chemicals in the water.




Chlorine More Than Just a Pool Perfume! Unmasking the Unpleasant Truths About Chlorine in Your Swimming Pool”

Chlorine, often perceived as the signature fragrance of swimming pools, not only fills the air with bleach-like odors but also wages a chemical warfare against germs in pool water. However, its impact doesn’t stop at just infusing your pool with a distinct aroma. In some cases, it’s causing distress in throats, lungs, and nasal passages, making even the airways complain after a dip.

The “Chlorine Cough” is a frequent collaborator on the soundtrack of many pool-goers. So, what’s the real deal, and should you be concerned about your lungs? Let’s take a deep dive into the subject with pulmonologist Dr. Rachel Taylor-Dow and unravel the mysteries surrounding chlorine’s effects on your respiratory system.

What is Chlorine Cough?

Decoding the Most Common Germ Fighter in Indoor and Outdoor Swimming Pools: Chlorine and Its Tricky Trail”

Chlorine, the ubiquitous germ slayer in indoor and outdoor swimming pools, is not just a simple chemical element .Chlorine in Pool Water , It’s a complex part of pool water maintenance, with its concentration ranging from 1 to 3 parts per million. This potent sanitizer is added to pool water to eliminate any dangerous bacteria lurking beneath the surface.

Troubles begin when chlorine reacts with sweat, urine, and other bodily waste while floating in the pool water. (Warning: There’s a significant amount of urine in pools.) The fusion of chlorine and this icky concoction results in chloramines, which can irritate your nose, throat, and lungs. Chloramine-laden air can become heavy, settling at a level where you are more likely to breathe it in during your swim, making your underwater experience less enjoyable.

In outdoor pools, these chlorine-related fumes disperse quickly in the surrounding air, causing minimal issues. However, indoor pools that use chlorine may have a different story to tell.

“If an indoor pool isn’t properly ventilated, you may start experiencing symptoms of tracheobronchitis, also known as chlorine cough,” warns Dr. Taliercio. “”You might start coughing or wheezing, and your throat might even get a little sore.”

Competitive swimmers face a higher risk of chlorine cough compared to recreational swimmers because they spend more time in pools relative to the average person. Individuals with asthma may also be at a greater risk of developing chlorine cough.

So, before you take the plunge in an indoor pool, ensure that the indoor air quality is well-maintained. Chlorine cough is not something you’d want to dive into.

Can Too Much Chlorine Cause A Cough – Chlorine cough?




When you are exposed to chlorine, your body can experience various symptoms. The respiratory system can be affected by different signs, including coughing, difficulty breathing, and fluid in the lungs termed as chlorine cough.

Chlorine-based germ-killing substances are widely used in today’s society, often in crowded areas such as schools, daycare centers, pools  and hospitals. Chlorine-based germicides can cause skin itching, sneezing, coughing, and burning eyes. In addition, skin rashes, sneezing, coughing, and eye irritation can occur.

Sensitivity to chlorine can worsen over time with prolonged exposure, which is why it’s essential to be aware of the risks and take precautions to avoid them.

Is Chlorine Cough harmful?

“”Exposure to high levels of chlorine in the air around indoor pools can pose a risk to your breathing.

Symptoms may include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • A burning sensation in your throat

These issues may last for just a few hours or a few days. If you are training in an indoor pool and regularly experience these symptoms, speak to a healthcare provider for guidance on maintaining your health.”

Indoor pools, young children and Chlorine Cough

“Lion-hearted children and little ones do not fully mature their lungs. While observing this, there is a suggested (but not definitive) connection between the early onset of asthma and indoor pool swimming.”

However, this connection is not clear, and Dr. Taylor strongly emphasizes caution, as some studies question this theory and its effects.

I won’t suggest that parents who learn that their children may have asthma keep them out of recreational swimming programs. “Children’s health benefits from swimming are numerous.

Getting relief from Chlorine Cough


Let’s begin with clarity: If you’re swimming in an indoor pool and suddenly feel like you’re not breathing well, it’s time to get out of the water.

“In many cases, simply getting out of the pool and getting fresh air can bring relief,” notes Dr. Taylor. Taking a shower immediately to wash away any chlorine and other chemicals from your body can also be helpful.

If the issues persist, talk to a health care provider about options to reduce irritation in your airways while using your airways. You may also want to consider swimming in another pool that uses different water treatment methods (such as bromine) or provides better ventilation.

“During pool season, chlorine is essential for maintaining water quality. But does the smell of chlorine mean that the pool has too much chlorine? And if it does, what is the highest safe level of chlorine, and what happens if chlorine levels go unchecked?

Chlorine is added to pools to kill bacteria – many things can introduce bacteria into the pool, including human bodies (and, well, other things). And if there are kids in the pool with swim diapers, no worries, forget about it.

Chlorine Cough and Advice

A Diver says,

“I am currently a competitive diver for the YMCA team, and I usually experience a persistent  chlorine cough when I go into the pool for my routine dives. Most often, when I take a plunge into the water, I feel a burning sensation in my throat, and when we start any rigorous set, I tend to cough quite aggressively. This is frustrating because, in this state, it’s just me dealing with the  chlorine cough, and it’s severely affecting my diving performance.

Is there any remedy or advice for this?

It’s not an option to change the pools in this matter, and a few years ago, I underwent a checkup for asthma due to my involvement in sports, but there was no conclusive result.”

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By Sara Alex

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