horror: Twins rushed to hospital from chlorine
Seven-year-old twins rushed
to hospital after collapsing from chlorine
inhalation at swimming pool in their villa
By Sharmila Dhal, Senior
Published: 00:00 February 9, 2012
The newly constructed pool where tragedy
Dubai: A pair of Dubai-based twins had to
be rushed to hospital after they suffered
a severe bout of chlorine poisoning in the
swimming pool of their home at The Villa,
XPRESS has learnt.
Sarah Foyster, the mother
of the seven-year-old twins, said the incident
occurred recently when they were swimming
in the newly constructed pool with their
eight-year-old cousins who were visiting
"It was around half
past five in the evening when the girls
were outside, going in and out of the pool.
We were sitting inside from where we could
see them but suddenly things went wrong,"
Reliving those anxious
moments, she said she heard her two girls
coughing out loud and before she knew it,
they were running inside. What followed
was a nightmare. "They could hardly
breathe and their eyes were streaming. They
just collapsed on the floor."
Sarah's husband tried to
give them first aid while she had already
dialled 999. As luck would have it, the
ambulance could not find their villa immediately.
So they decided to take the girls in their
own vehicle to Emirates Road where they
met the ambulance.
Although the paramedics
tried to stabilise the girls, they were
rushed to Latifa Hospital where they were
treated for gas inhalation. "They were
put on the nebuliser for around two hours
and their X-rays were taken. They were sick
the whole night. It was awful. But thankfully
by 11am the next morning, they turned around."
Sarah said the gas inhalation
occurred when a representative from the
pool maintenance company they had contracted
came in through the garden without notice
and emptied granules of chlorine into the
water pump at the far end of the pool.
"The granules exploded
into a gas ball which quickly spread in
the water. My twins were inside the pool
when it happened while their cousins were
The pool boy did not think
it fit to test the pool first or ask the
girls to get out before emptying the granules.
"He didn't inform us either. In our
ignorance, we had trusted the company to
do their job right. But we realised we could
not afford to do that. If this had happened
in the UK, the pool company would probably
have been shut down."
Not wanting to name the
company, she said she and her husband had
talked it through with the officials and
the matter was settled. "They have
changed the way the pool is cleaned but
that doesn't stop us now from doing our
own tests to check the level of chemicals."
"We wanted to bring
this incident to light as we are anxious
that it doesn't happen to anyone else. We
must all be aware and do our homework, not
just trust someone else, especially when
it comes to health and safety," she
What is chlorine
are used in swimming pools to prevent exposure
to infectious diseases while swimming. When
managed by competent professionals, the
amount of chlorine used does not endanger
our health. However, excessive levels can
irritate and burn the eyes, nose, throat
and airways. In severe cases, they can cause
breathing difficulties, lung collapse, pulmonary
injury, and even asthma.
Most chlorine exposures
occur via inhalation. Low-level exposure
to chlorine in air cause eye/skin/airway
irritation, sore throat and cough. Chlorine's
odour provides adequate early warning of
its presence, but also causes olfactory
fatigue or adaptation, reducing awareness
of one's prolonged exposure at low concentrations.
At higher levels of exposure, signs and
symptoms may progress to chest tightness,
wheezing, dyspnea and bronchospasm. Severe
exposure may result in noncardiogenic pulmonary
oedema, which may be delayed for several
hours. Ingestion of chlorine dissolved in
water can cause corrosive tissue damage
of the gastrointestinal tract.
Regular swimmers shower before and after
a swim to fight the effect of chlorine on
hair and skin.