Autism and Dealing with Chlorine When Swimming In Pools

I have started to take my eldest son swimming again on a weekly basis to teach him how to swim. Even doing something as fun and enjoyable like this causes me discomfort in some ways.

The biggest issue that I am affected by due to my high functioning autism (Asperger’s) is the chlorine. As I have got such sensitive skin, that I am sure is an issue that is caused by my autism, the chlorine really burns all of my skin. Not straight away but a few hours after I have left the pool my skin starts to burn up and go really red. There are some things that really help such as having a shower straight after coming out of the pool where I have started to wash my whole body with head and shoulders sensitive shampoo (as it is really effective at removing chlorine). ┬áThen I will wash my whole body again with Radox shower gel. When I get home I will have another shower but only use shower gel for this occasion. ┬áThis usually works for me but there are times when even this fails. I think it is my brain telling my body to react to something that is attacking my skin.

Some swimming pools certainly use less chlorine than others and these places are bearable but other pools use so much chlorine that I will not go swimming there again. It normally burns the most at night when I am in bed, trying to get to sleep. Luckily by the next day I am back to normal again.

The only other problem I have when swimming, which fortunately does not happen too often, is when I see someone I used to know that I have not seen for a few years (like someone from my school days or an old job). I do avoid a conversation as much as possible due to my autism/asperger’s and often try to hide in the opposite pool to them or hope that they do not notice me as I have changed over the years. Sometimes I might have to say hello, which is difficult, but most of the times avoidance does the trick. It has certainly stopped me from going back to the swimming baths on occasions, just in case I see someone I used to know, but for know it hasn’t happened for a long time.

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