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Swimming, Eczema, and Asthma
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This forum is for questions regarding Dermatology issues, such as: rashes, acne, birthmarks, skin infections, rosacea, and general skin care.

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Swimming, Eczema, and Asthma

I would like to respectfully disagree with a doctor who says that he doubts swimming causes eczema (and asthma, which apparently can be related).

I am a swimmer.  Years I go I took up daily lap swimming indoors and continued for quite a few years. I swam five days a week and I swam vigorously, At abt. age 50, , I had my first severe attack of nummular eczema. I told my dermatologist, who taught at Harvard Med. School, that I thought it was set off by pool chemicals and going back and forth between hot and cold, moist and dry environments, esp.  He said the hot/cold moist/dry can effect the skin. As to the pool chemicals, he is a very good doctor who said, "I will not tell you you are wrong.   However, I will tell you there is nothing in the literature about pool chemicals."

I continued to be more attentive to my skin.  Then I went through a period of unemployment when I could not afford my health club.  A friend informed me of a neighborhood pool with a low fee.  I joined.   The first time I dove into the pool, I swam ony only one length of the pool and came out feeling very odd.  Within abt. an hour and a half I was covered with an intolerable rash.  I went to my wonderful dermatologist who again diagnosed an outbreak of severe nummular eczema.  He informed me that he had had two other women patients who attributed eczema outbreaks to swimming in another pool.  I subsequently learned that the pool in which I swam was closed down by the Health Department.  The pool manager had been dropping heavy applications of bromine into the pool instead of clearning it.  There were other swimmers who had the same problem.  

I subsequently developed ashsma which, after years. has responded to what is still an experimental treatment.    I just don't swim indoors anymore.

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