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KThomason051671
May 7th, 2012, 12:24 PM
I have been swimming my whole life (I am 40), but during the past year, I began working out by swimming laps 3 - 4 times a week. After 7 months, I started having what felt like an asthma attack about 3 -4 hours after I swam. This happened three times in a row so I stopped my routine and made an appointment with an allergist. He says that I am having a reaction to the chemicals that are generated by the mixture of chlorine and organic material. None of the inhalers we have tried have helped with the problem and my doctor has reccommended no more swimming. Does anyone know anything about this? I haven't swam now for 6 months and miss it terribly.

pendaluft
May 7th, 2012, 09:31 PM
Not swimming can't be the only answer.

Have you had anyone measure your lung function during one of these episodes? That seems to me to be the way to find out if it is asthma or not. If its asthma, there is definitely a solution. When the asthma inhalers don't work, its often not asthma, but a mimic. These problems all have solutions but accurate diagnosis is the first step.

philoswimmer
May 7th, 2012, 10:34 PM
Another lead you might follow up on... if your difficulty breathing is not helped with an inhaler, you might be experiencing Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) rather than asthma, which, like asthma, can be exercise-induced.

EdC
May 8th, 2012, 12:15 AM
Check to see if you also have acid reflex. As in my case upping my dose of acid reflex cured the problem. Also, ask for a chemical analysis of the pool water you swim in or try a different pool, perhaps an outdoor pool. Do you live next to a lake or ocean?

Debugger
May 8th, 2012, 03:52 AM
I have been swimming my whole life (I am 40), but during the past year, I began working out by swimming laps 3 - 4 times a week. After 7 months, I started having what felt like an asthma attack about 3 -4 hours after I swam. This happened three times in a row so I stopped my routine and made an appointment with an allergist. He says that I am having a reaction to the chemicals that are generated by the mixture of chlorine and organic material. None of the inhalers we have tried have helped with the problem and my doctor has reccommended no more swimming. Does anyone know anything about this? I haven't swam now for 6 months and miss it terribly.
Open water could be a sort of solution if the problem is indeed caused by chemicals.

qbrain
May 8th, 2012, 09:37 AM
Try to find pools that use a different water treatment system than your regular pool (chlorine, bromide, ozone) or just a pool that is cleaner than your regular pool and see if that resolves the problem.

This won't work if you don't live in an area with a lot of pool options.

Midas
May 8th, 2012, 05:34 PM
I agree with qbrain. You might also try swimming in an outdoor pool. Many indoor pools have this effect on me but swimming outdoors is never an issue. This won't work year-round unless you live in the south or the west somewhere, of course...

taruky
May 10th, 2012, 01:18 PM
There has to be more to the story. Like someone suggested, pulmonary function testing (spirometry) is in order if not yet done. Also, as others have said, there are asthma mimicers. Finally, are the inhalers you tried rescue inhalers (e.g. Albuterol), preventative inhalers (e.g. inhaled steroids), or both? Leukotriene inhibitors (e.g. Singular/ Montekeukast) also are a preventative option, if indeed it is asthma.

Last question; when you get this "asthma attack" 3-4 hours later, are you coughing? If not I seriously doubt it is an asthma attack.

Fins25
May 10th, 2012, 06:23 PM
Open water could be a sort of solution if the problem is indeed caused by chemicals.

There are quite a few open water pools around the place. Depends on where you are but that is what I would do if it actually is chemical related.

Betsy
May 11th, 2012, 06:37 AM
I am affected by the pool chemicals and the ventilation system. At Auburn last summer, I stayed at the pool all morning on distance day. By the time I swam the 1500, I couldn't breathe and had to stop. The bad thing for me is that once my airways are irritated, nothing helps right away. it takes several days for me to get back to normal. I have to remember not to hang around the pool all day at a meet. I use Symbicort daily as a preventive. The rescue inhaler will give me some immediate relief but will not "fix" it once the irritation has occurred.
I confirmed it was the pool one day at practice when I started having problems during warm-up. I left and went to another pool immediately (didn't even change out of my suit). I was able to finish the workout with no problems.
I have never known anyone to have the problems several hours later. I do know swimmers who have gone to using a nose clip to keep the chemicals out of their nasal passages. this has been successful for many, but their symptoms were sneezing attacks, not breathing problems.
I have a good physician for the asthma who really wants to help me swim and compete.

philoswimmer
May 11th, 2012, 02:04 PM
I have a good physician for the asthma who really wants to help me swim and compete.

How did you find such a doctor? I get the sense from mine that she only cares that I am exercising regularly... competing or competing well just isn't on her radar.

EdC
May 28th, 2012, 12:45 PM
How did you find such a doctor? I get the sense from mine that she only cares that I am exercising regularly... competing or competing well just isn't on her radar.

I'm in totally understand your problem. I went through 5 doctors just to accidentally find that I had exercise induced vocal cord disorder. Even then did I find doctor who suggested that acid reflex might be the cause and suggested upping my dose of anti reflex med. In three days I was able to resume workouts without gasping for air after no more than 100 meters. Check with your primary doc. to see if you have acid reflex.
EdC

Glenn
May 31st, 2012, 09:11 AM
Ed C,

Would you mind telling me who the doctor was in Long Beach who made the vocal chord dysfunction diagnosis? I have a friend who would benefit from seeing such a doctor.

E-mail me at sca17@pacbell.net if you prefer.

Thanks!

Glenn Gruber
Pasadena