Each year, over 4,500 people visit the emergency room as a result of exposure to pool-cleaning chemicals, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Medical director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center in Phoenix, Dr. Daniel Brooks said Arizonans should avoid inhaling when opening containers containing of chlorine tablets.
“It can be quite irritating to your eyes, your nose and your upper airway,” he said on Wednesday. “And you can end up with significant clinical effects, lots of pain or teary eyes and cough, especially if you have asthma or you’re fighting off some kind of viral infection.”
As found by the CDC, more than half of the pool chemical-related injuries occurred at a home pool, while more than a third of those affected were children.
“When you open up a chlorine dispenser … just make sure when you open it up you’re not right over the breathing zone,” Brooks said. “Let it air out, even for just five or 10 seconds. It’s going to dissipate incredibly quick.”
At the recommendation of the CDC, people should shower before entering a pool, avoiding mixing chemicals together and reading cleaning product labels closely.
If someone experiences any adverse effects from the chemicals, they will feel the effects within seconds of handling them. It’s a good idea to call the poison center if you experience symptoms for more than a few minutes or have a pre-existing condition that may be aggravated.
“Mostly it’s going to be transient irritant effects that should go away just with time,” he said. “Breathe fresh air, move away from the fumes if it is a gas, or if you’ve spilled something on your hand like the acid, by all means, wash it off.”