HAY FEVER WARNING: SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK

BABIES AND YOUNG CHILDREN who swim in highly chlorinated pools may be at an increased risk of developing hay fever later in life, according to a new study. Researchers from the National Research Center for Environment and Health in Neuherberg, Germany, interviewed 2,606 adults, ages 35 to 74, to examine the potential relationship between past swimming pool use, medical history and allergies. Results showed that school-age children exposed to pools were 74 percent more likely to develop hay fever while those exposed to chlorinated pools had a 65 percent increased risk. The link between swimming pools and hay fever may lie in the chlorine compounds used to disinfect pools. The compounds can react with swimmers' urine and sweat to produce potentially harmful fumes at the water's surface. The fumes have been shown to damage the inner lining of the lungs; chronic irritation may predispose people to allergic diseases.

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