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"Can swimming pools cause rashes in children?"


My 9 year old son visited a public swimming pool yesterday, and today he has a bright red rash on his face and neck. Is this likely a reaction to the chlorinated water, or perhaps a contagious rash he acquired from one of the other kids? How can we test to see if has an allergic reaction to chlorine?


There are many causes for rashes in children, some of which can be related to chemical exposures such as those from chlorine. Physicians who would be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your pediatrician or family medicine doctor. Chlorine and other chemical used in swimming pools can cause rashes in children.

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These rashes are usually uniform over the body and appear in the first day or so after the exposure. Chlorine rashes can usually be prevented by showering off quickly before and after swimming and by using only pools that post regular measurements of chlorine concentration to make sure the level is not too high. There are other causes of skin rashes after swimming, including infectious rashes caused by bacteria living in the pool water. If there is fever, small pustules, or swollen glands this is more of a possibility. Prevention of these types of rashes requires making certain that the chlorine concentration in the pool is high enough to disinfect the water. If there is any concern of a skin infection, your child should be evaluated immediately by a physician. As always, the diagnosis and management of your child's specific condition will require a physical examination by a personal physician. Scheduling an appointment with your pediatrician or family medicine doctor is recommended.

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