Bromine, a reddish-brown liquid chemical, is used in many household applications, such as a water purifier and as a fire-retardant. Occasionally, someone may have an allergy to bromine, which can cause serious symptoms. It is important to identify and treat this allergy to keep each individual safe and symptom-free.
Bromine allergy symptoms may be different depending on the severity of the allergy and the concentration of the bromine. Bromine is used in swimming pools, in fire-retardant materials and in agricultural products. Bromine is highly toxic in undiluted form, both as a liquid and a gas.
Bromine allergies have several different symptoms depending on how the chemical is encountered. The most common way to encounter bromine is to run across it in drinking water or in a swimming pool. Bromine is hardly ever strong enough to cause an allergic reaction in drinking water, but it can cause an allergic reaction in a swimming pool.
Symptoms of a bromine allergy may include difficulty breathing, coughing, lung sensitivity, headache, dizziness and possible skin irritation, such as a rash.
An allergy to bromine is not very common. Most of the concentrations of bromine present in the majority of applications are perfectly harmless to humans. One common misconception is that an allergy to bromine is actually caused by sensitivity to chemicals in general, and not actually an allergy to bromine in particular. If unusual symptoms do occur, however, it is best to keep away from bromine until an allergy can be confirmed or denied by a doctor.
The best way to prevent a bromine allergy from occurring is to avoid the chemical altogether. Do not swim in pools that use bromine to sanitize the water. Try to eat organic fruits and vegetables that are not sprayed with bromine. Check for bromine as an ingredient on any fire-safe material. Thoroughly wash any clothing or swimsuits that have been exposed to bromine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no antidote for bromine poisoning or allergies.
Always consult with a health professional immediately if you suspect an allergy to bromine or any other chemical. In some cases, overexposure to bromine can cause serious side-effects. Your doctor will also be able to determine if you actually have an allergy to bromine or whether you simply have a sensitivity to too much exposure to chemicals in general. Never allow a suspected allergy to continue without talking to a qualified health professional about the potential risks.