The chemicals used to keep your pool clean and clear are hazardous materials. Mixing the two can create dangerous fumes.
Most swimming pool owners are quite careful when handling these types of chemicals, but accidents can happen. Learn more about what to do if you get acid or chlorine in your eye, on your skin or inhale acid fumes. When in doubt, call 911 or get medical assistance ASAP.
CHLORINE POOL CHEMICAL EXPOSURE
Breathing chlorine isn’t necessarily fatal, but it can be uncomfortable.
Get into fresh air right away. The fumes are heavy, so just standing up can make it easier to breathe.If you have symptoms that persist after inhaling chlorine fumes, such as nausea, difficulty breathing or burning airways, seek medical attention.
After handling chlorine tablets, you should wash your hands and avoid rubbing your eyes. Chlorine can splash into your eyes when you’re adding it to the pool, especially in strong winds.
If chlorine gets into your eyes, rinse under streaming water or dunk your head into the pool. Rinse your eyes for 15 minutes. Pull your eyelids out for complete irrigation. You may have blurry vision and irritated eyes once you finish rinsing. You may need medical attention, depending on the conditions.
Liquid chlorine from bleach or shock can irritate your skin under longer-term contact. If you get chlorine on your skin, rinse it off right away. Apply a moisturizing lotion to prevent the skin from drying out. If the skin is burnt from a longer duration contact, treat like a burn.
Apply burn ointment and bandage. If the damage is great, seek medical attention.
POOL ACID EXPOSURE
Muriatic acid is very strong. Acid contamination through breathing, in the eyes, on the skin or in the mouth is hazardous. If you breathe in acid fumes, you’ll start to cough.
Get out of the area and find fresh air. Medical attention is required. Some symptoms may not be evident until well after exposure. Any kind of acid can splash into the eye and cause permanent damage if not dealt with right away.
Rinse the eyes immediately and continuously for 15 minutes. Use a garden hose, a shower, a sink or the pool water.
Don’t rub your eyes. Keep them open in the water to make sure they’re irrigated. A few small drops in the eye may not require immediate medical attention. A bigger exposure may indicate you should see your eye doctor right away. If you get acid in your mouth, rinse with milk or water.
Don’t induce vomiting. Go to the nearest medical facility with the bottle or name of the chemical you swallowed. Acid will quickly burn skin when it comes in contact with skin.
Rinse off minor splashes quickly. For prolonged exposure, rinse under a garden hose or shower. Remove any contaminated clothing. You may want to get medical attention, depending on the severity of the burn. Apply burn ointment and keep the area clean.
Have an emergency plan and contact information readily available just in case. Make sure the adults in your home know what to do in case of an emergency.