Many swimmers have emerged from the pool, rubbing their eyes, and exclaiming that they burn, itch or feel irritated. The cause is often attributed to too much chlorine in the pool. However, this is an urban legend.
In actuality, irritation of the eyes after swimming in the pool is usually due to poor swimmer hygiene rather than high levels of chlorine. Many are surprised by this fact.
Why do We Add Chlorine to Pools Anyway?
Good pool chemistry keeps pools healthy for use by swimmers. Chlorine and pH is called "the first defense against germs that can make swimmers sick" by The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The proper balance of chlorine and pH protects swimmers against bacteria that can cause conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal upset, swimmer's ear and irritated skin.
Want to hear another urban pool legend that may surprise you? It's the one that says peeing in the pool is okay because the chlorine will take care of it. MANY people pee in the pool. One out of every five adults even admits to it according to a survey by healthypools.org in 2009. What chlorine ACTUALLY does is REACT with urine as well as, feces, sweat, body oils, and make up to produce irritants. THIS is why many pools require a soapy shower before entering the pool.
So, what can you do to keep your eyes from burning?
1. Don't urinate in the pool. Take children for frequent bathroom breaks and have toddlers/babies use swim diapers that are also CHANGED frequently. Remember, a swim diaper is not designed to "soak up" urine and feces, but only to hold it until you can get them out of the pool for a change. If you leave that swim diaper on them too long, it will eventually leak back into the pool and the whole purpose of using a swim diaper will be defeated.
2. Shower with soap before swimming.
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