A question about asthma and swimming

I wondered if anyone could advice me weather swimming could bring on an asthma attack well not sure what my grandson is suffering he is 2 years old has always suffering with his chest and is in and out of hospital several times a year they give him oxygen nebulizer and two inhalers grey one and brown one this time he had been to an indoor swimming baths later that day he turned really bad chest was carving in and his neck was also sinking in he was admitted 3 days ago all the usual treatment oxygen and nebulizer inhalers 3 days later he has picked up enough to be let home his stats were 88/176 which wasn't good but have gone up now . I just wondered if going to the swimming baths could of triggered this attack any ideas thank you sorry it's a long post

12 Replies


Could it be the chlorine?


In 2008, a Belgian study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, suggested that children who swam once a week in chlorinated pools were five times more likely to be asthmatic than those who’d never swum in a pool.

Another more recent study of 50 elite athletes, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that almost all the swimmers they examined had inflamed lung tissue, with those who spent the most time in chlorinated pools showing most changes.

Children are thought to be particularly at risk because they tend to spend longer in the pool than adults and are more likely to ingest water.

‘Although more research is needed, it is thought that chlorine and it’s by-products, when inhaled or swallowed, can attack the cellular barriers in the lungs that protect them from allergens,’ says Dr Wright. This is why some experts believe persistent exposure to chemicals in cleaning products such as chlorine may also be responsible for the increase in allergies in the past 50 years. 

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I have wondered if that's what it was very strong smell of it in there 

Probably the chlorine. See here:


Thank you very interesting it did smell really bad of it I don't like the smell I get bad headaches from it 

shortytree yes i have asthma and I've found if  the chlorine is strong in the swimming pool it affects my breathing bringing on an attack best wishes x

It could be the chlorine can be an asthma trigger; although when a child I was sent to swimming classes by the school Doctor. This was to strengthen my ' frail' chest. Back in the early 1950's I don't think the impact of chlorine on the lungs was known. A spa pool should be OK. .x


I have been reading on another site that swimming is supposed to be good for asthma sufferers because of the moist air and the fact it strengthens the heart and lungs.  Maybe not for a very young child though....  x

I swim twice a week in a pool which must use chlorine, but you can't smell it. I went on the recommendation of my lung consultant- I have bronchiecstasis and what they call difficult asthma. Despite being on four inhalers, a nasal spray, anti histamine and montelukast, my asthma isn't very well controlled. I keep my head out of the water, and try as much as I can not to allow water up my nose. However, since I started swimming twelve months ago, my peak flow has gone up from 295 to 400!

Mind you it has done nothing for my RA! You can't win them all.

Try to find a salt water pool it may help. 

Hi. He obviously has asthma but has he been diagnosed? I ask because I totally know that my granddaughter has it, she's now just 5. When she was a baby she was prescribed ventolin - the blue reliever inhaler - thankfully they now have a little mask attached so the small child gets the medication. Unfortunately, in her area West London and recently Bucks, won't diagnose asthma in children under 6 which leaves a lot of kids struggling and getting unnecessarily ill. 

My son had what was called exercise asthma so we were taught to use the blue puffer before any form of exercise and before going out in to extremes of temperature during winter months. I had it as a child but never diagnosed, hence lots of infections etc weakening and damaging my lungs.

All lung sufferers will tell you that chemical fumes really effect them so it's possible that it's the chlorine. It's also important to know that fear and stress also bring on asthma coughing and asthma attack. Also excitement for a child IE parties, holidays, birthdays and Christmas . 

Apologies if you know all this already. It's a shame that some GPs or respiratory nurses don't teach enough about keeping the airways open, particularly in children. For instance, no one tells parents of a child with asthma that they must avoid mould spores (farms, kicking up leaves in autumn and compost). This is to avoid the aspergilis fungus that can lodge in lungs. 

Wishing your grandson all the very best. How I remember holding my son in an upright position through many many nights xx

I was hoping to take up swimming again as a form of exercise, I have trouble with my legs and hips, but was told that the stuff they put in the water would not be good for my COPD. I'm trying to find a fresh water indoor pool.

Not everyone is affected by chlorine. You could look for a spa pool where they're much more sparing with chemicals. Warmer too.

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