Eyes Red After A Good Swim? It’s Not Chlorine!

Do your eyes turn red after a good swim in the swimming pool? Well don’t blame it on chlorine because the real cause is going to make you cringe. The annual healthy swimming report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state that swimmers urine mixed with other chemicals causes your eyes to get red and sting.

Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s healthy swimming program, told Today, that it’s not chlorine itself that is the cause, its chlorine mixed with poop, sweat, urine and a lot of other things that people bring in the water.

Beware if you are swimming in a public swimming pool and the smell of chlorine is very strong, healthy pools don’t have a pungent smell of chemicals.

The nitrogen in urine combines with the chlorine and its forms chloramines, which is the cause of red eyes, Hlavsa stated.

It is a common misconception that chlorine helps eliminate urine from swimming pools but that is not true, Chlorine is used for cleaning E.coli and other germs in the water.

“People think waterborne disease is something that happens outside the United Sates. But really, we have plenty of them here,” Hlvasa said to Today.

Hlavsa recommends pool owners to get a pool tester. “You’re looking at both the chlorine level and the pH,”.The chlorine level should be “1 to 3 ppm” and the pH level “between 7.2 to 7.8.” The pH is important because it determines how effective that chlorine is,”

Tips such as showering before getting in the pool and not swallowing any of the pool water are offered by the CDC.

But while red-eye is gross, it’s just a minor downside of the compounds created when chlorine mixes with urine (and to a much lesser extent, sweat and dirt). Recent research reveals that chlorine’s reaction with two chemicals in urine—urea and uric acid—creates two poisonous gases that can hurt people’s lungs, hearts, and central nervous systems,reported by Quartz.

“We don’t want to scare people away from swimming,” Hlavsa said to Today. “It’s just about doing it in a healthier and safer way.”


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