Going to a pool during asthma flare

I am new to having a more severe asthma flare up. It started June 24th and hasn’t really let up since then. Currently, I seem to be triggered by activity- walking, stairs, any minor activity and smells. 

My question is does going and sitting by a pool or swimming cause breathing issues during an asthma flare? Any experiences with this and any advice would be appreciated. It is an outside pool at a health club. I could just sit in a lounge chair beside the pool while my family swims. Thanks for your advice and ideas. 


Comments 17

  • Melissa G

    That's a hard one to answer. I have been bothered when the pool seems to be over chlorinated. The smell would set me off. If I just want to lounge in the pool I would be fine if I had been having issues, but if I had been struggling and wanted to swim, I just couldn't. 

    Did you end up going? How are you?

  • Shadowcat04

    We haven't gone yet, we were thinking about going tomorrow. I have been on Breo for one week (before that prednisone, Flovent). Using albuterol by inhaler and nebulizer every 4 hours.  

    This is new for me, I have never needed anything beyond a breathing treatment and maybe prednisone and an occasional dose of albuterol. 

    I'm trying to carry on a relatively normal summer for my kids. I thought maybe sitting by the pool might work, but someone I talked to warned me that it wouldn't be a good idea- I think due to the chlorine smell. So, I thought I'd ask for opinions here, since I'm new to this.  

  • Shea

    just popping in here…hi Shadowcat! Since it is outdoors, sitting by it would be a good first "test" of how your lungs wi l react (and not going in). Going in has flared up my asthma a lot before. Indoor pools bother it too. But sitting by the pool has been ok for me personally. If they just treated it, if they use a lot of chlorine, and if there is a lot of splashing (like a splash park) you might get bothered. But if you bring your inhalers (and nebulizer just in case you have a big flare) then I'd start with just sitting by it to see how that affects your lungs. 

  • Kathy P

    I have never had issues with outsooo pools. I have had problems with indoor pools. It seems really humid and the heavy chlorine smell hits me like a brick. I have occasionally had problems with overchlorinated outdoor hot tubs. 

    Funny, just yesterday I came across this article about asthma and chlorine! I don't know if the info in here will help you with your decision - 

  • Pljohns

    Good luck Shadwocat04-I've had to give up swimming all together-the chlorine just does me in.  I was OK as long as we had a pool and could regulate the chlorine but a public pool-tried that and had to leave.

  • Shadowcat04

    Well, we did go to the pool last night. I used my albuterol inhaler before going and had it with me, just in case. I was fine sitting away from the pool, watching my son swim. It was pretty hot, so I waded in, up to my knees and then sat with my husband at the edge of the pool. I was okay for 15 minutes or so, then I started coughing. It was mild at first, then got worse. After about 10 more minutes, the coughing was more constant and it was hard to talk and my chest felt a little tight. So, I went back to sitting farther away. The coughing eased a bit after a while. 

    Today I have been coughing more and don't feel as good as yesterday. I don't know if that is just a coincidence or not. 

  • Melissa G

    I am glad you were able to go but sorry you started coughing. That is hard to tell what triggered it. I hope you feel better today.

  • Pljohns

    I'm sorry you got hit with coughing-maybe the chlorine got to you??  Hope you can rest and feel better today

  • K8sMom2002

    Lynn's idea might be on the money … or it could have been, if it were hot and steamy, a problem with the humidity. I hate that you wound up coughing so and not feeling well … hope you're better today!

  • Shadowcat04

    Thanks, Cynthia and everyone for the ideas and support. I think in the moment it was the chlorine that started the coughing at the pool. It never really calmed down after that. Last night I even coughed/ hard to breathe (I know I wrote that weird) myself awake, scared the heck out of me. That hasn’t happened much for a couple weeks.  I’m hoping today will be better. 

    Tomorrow is my 2 week mark on Breo. I don’t feel greatly improved by it.  I suppose that is a conversation for the Breo thread , though.

    I may try the pool again, but I’m going to wait awhile.


  • Pljohns

    Shadowcat04-have you considered a mask to go to the pool?  Believe me-the voice of experience here-I swore I would never be able to wear a mask in public-just WAY to embarrassed and didn't want to get any attention.  Flu season last year was the deciding factor for me-I wore a mask every day for almost 8 weeks until the flu season died down.  I wore it in the grocery store, out shopping, at work-everywhere and I helped myself get use to it by telling myself that if someone was staring at me, I could always stick my tongue out at them and they would never know it.  It is still uncomfortable for me but I'm a work in progress too.  I know we have several members that wear masks any time they go out or at the very least, keep it in their purse just in case.  it might be something to consider.

  • Shea

    Sorry the pool chlorine triggered an attack and yeah when you are flared up it can take a while to recover so best to avoid triggers (at least goung into the pool) until you feel like your asthma is doing well.

    Being in a pool triggers my asthma– even the salt water ones because technically the salt turns into chlorine when it mixes– it messes with my skin too. When my asthma is really flared, even showers can cause me problems (if I dont have a showerhead that filters the chlorine out of the water– which they do sell and I pickrd one up when my asthma was really bad) because of the small amount of chlorine in the shower water when it evaporates in thar small space can be irritating to asthmatics lungs.

    My sons excema is also flared by chlorine pools. So we use kiddie pools (he is 6) that nust use fresh water… Or go to the ocean. (Neither of us is too big of a water person anyways). But I do OK sitting outside near outdoor pools watching others. 

  • K8sMom2002
    Pljohns posted:

    I wore it in the grocery store, out shopping, at work-everywhere and I helped myself get use to it by telling myself that if someone was staring at me, I could always stick my tongue out at them and they would never know it.  .

    I love this, Lynn! Somehow I don't think you ever resorted to sticking your tongue out, but it IS a funny thought!

    Chlorine can be a trigger for me … Shea, I have well water, and I never really thought about shower water. But I do notice that I have to have the bathroom door ajar and the fan on when I'm at a hotel … maybe that's part of the problem?

    I do okay with pools as long as the chlorine is mixed right — not too strong — and it's not an indoor pool.

    Shadowcat, I sure hope you're feeling better today!