I try to swim four to five times a week, and this was very achievable from January-April, when I had a mixture of working from home and working part-time. Now I am working full time, and commuting 30-50 minutes each way daily and unfortunately, don’t get enough time in the pool as I’d like to. Anyway, today’s post is not about my irregular training regime, it’s about my body’s reaction to swimming pools.
When I swam as a youngster (although I still very much am a youngster, I’m referring to when I was14), I remember after training on Sunday and Friday nights at Cov Baths, I would sneeze a lot in the changing rooms. At the time I thought it was due to the strong lemon cleaning products they used to clean the floor, and maybe it was but now I suspect it was something to do with the pool too.
Because when I did triathlon at uni, I’d do a two-hour morning session on Wednesdays before classes, and be sneezing all the way through my Spanish oral class, much to my professor’s amazement/amusement. I just put it down to me being allergic to the pool and learned to live with it, as it only happened when I spent more than an hour in the pool and was kind of funny at times.
Then, when I switched to Masters Swimming in January, and swimming up to five times a week, the sneezing and runny nose continued to get worse. Sometimes I would be sneezing well into the next morning after a training session, and sneezing can really hurt if it’s continuous. I posted a question on a Facebook group and asked if anybody else suffered with this allergy to the pool, and what they did to get over it. I sighed with relief when streams of people started commenting methods to get over the sneezing, mainly a nose-clip and various nasal sprays.
I have tried a couple of different nasal sprays, a chemical one, which tastes really chemical-ly but is very effective, and a natural sea water one, which is great as it’s natural, but not as effective as the other.
Then, a few months ago, I started getting red patches and spots on my neck, I first thought this was where my seatbelt was rubbing in my car, but then it appeared on the left side too and the patches were always very itchy whilst and after swimming. I went to the doctors about three times to get a diagnosis and only the third time did a doctor put his finger on the right condition and prescribe me something to make it go away.
But, on another note, how surreal is it that I am allergic to my hobby? Spending time in the pool makes me sneeze, gives me a runny nose and a neck that looks like I’ve got hickeys. And yet, how much stranger is it that I continue doing it? I go back to the pool now equipped with my nasal sprays in my bag, and it’s one of the first things I do after stretching. I have tablets and creams for in case my neck flares up with Pityriasis Versicolor again – which by the way, it is. These aren’t preventative measures, and the cure would be to not swim. So, is prevention better than cure?