ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
FITNESS
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Laugh and the World Understands
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk

(HealthDay News) -- Swimming in pools disinfected with chlorine may increase the odds that a child will develop asthma or allergies, new research suggests.

The study found that teenagers who spent more than 1,000 hours swimming in chlorinated pools, either indoors or outdoors, had more than eight times the risk of having asthma than did teens who primarily swam in pools using a copper-silver disinfecting method.

"Chlorinated pool attendance has a very significant impact on the prevalence of allergic diseases in the studied population," said lead author Alfred Bernard, a professor of toxicology and research director at Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium.

"When used properly, [chlorine] is an efficient and safe disinfectant for swimming pools. However, when too much chlorine is added to water or builds up in the air of indoor pools, there is unavoidably some irritation of the organs of the bather in contact with the water and air," he explained. "There is now increasing evidence that these irritating effects may be detrimental to the airways of regular swimmers, especially the children who are the most vulnerable and the most frequent attendees of chlorinated pools."

Results of the study will be published in the Sept. 14 online issue of Pediatrics.

More than 17 million people in the United States have asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Symptoms of the disease include wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing. The airway disease can be triggered by a number of factors, such as cold air, exercise and chemical irritants. While chlorine has long been known to be an airway irritant and potential trigger of asthma, particularly in indoor pools, Bernard's study suggests that chlorinated pools might play a role in the development of asthma and allergy.

The study included 847 Belgian teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. All had attended indoor or outdoor swimming pools, but at various rates of attendance. One hundred and fourteen children mainly attended pools that were kept clean with a copper-silver disinfect, rather than chlorine. The remainder primarily attended pools disinfected with chlorine.

The number of children who ever had asthma went up in proportion to their chlorinated pool exposure. Teens who swam for 100 to 500 hours in chlorinated pools had an 80 percent increased risk of having asthma, while those who logged 500 to 1,000 hours had just over twice the risk. When teens spend more than 1,000 hours swimming in chlorinated water, the risk of ever having had asthma nearly quadrupled. The risk of currently having asthma was more than eight times higher in the group with more than 1,000 hours in chlorinated pools compared to those who were rarely in chlorinated water, according to the study.

The risk of allergies also increased significantly when adolescents spent more than 100 hours swimming in chlorinated pools. In fact, the risk of hay fever and other allergies more than doubled with significant chlorinated pool exposure.

Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, said this study highlights the fact that "asthma and allergies are caused by a multitude of different factors, and chlorine may have a potential effect. But, this is a very preliminary study, and we don't yet know what the whole picture is."

She said that she wouldn't advise parents to stop taking their kids swimming, even if they have asthma already. "If your kids have asthma and you know chlorine is a trigger, it's a good idea to try to limit their exposure, but you can't exclude your child from everything and every potential trigger. You have to let them be kids."

If you know your child is bothered by chlorine exposure, and they have an event such as a birthday party that they really want to attend, discuss it with your child's doctor to find out the best way to manage the exposure.

Bernard said that if you have a backyard pool, you should use as little chlorine as you can to safely disinfect the pool. He said that many people over chlorinate their pools to get clear blue water. But, he said, "chlorine is a disinfectant, not a cleaning agent."

SOURCES: Alfred Bernard, Ph.D., professor, toxicology and research director, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium; Jennifer Appleyard, M.D., chief, allergy and immunology, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, Detroit; Sept. 14, 2009, Pediatrics online