You’ve probably heard that it’s not chlorine that makes your eyes red when you swim, it’s the chlorine binding with other people’s pee. I look at it a different way: there will always be gross stuff in pools. That’s why we put chlorine in them. Your red eyes mean the chlorine is working.
Photo by peasap
I’ll join health officials in imploring you not to pee in the pool, but a few conscientious swimmers will not make the problem go away. Those irritating chloramines result from chlorine binding to just about anything, including sweat and personal care products.
Showering before you get in the pool removes some of that, but if people in the pool are getting a workout by swimming laps or doing water aerobics, they’re going to sweat anyway.
Here’s another bit of news that will shock non-parents: All those swim nappies the kids are wearing? They don’t do anything to keep pee out of the pool. Their job is just to keep a Number Two contained until Mum or Dad can get to the locker room for a nappy change. Urine goes right through.
Is this enough to make you flee the pool and head for the beach? Too bad that natural bodies of water are full of gross stuff too — not just from humans, but also the wildlife that live in the area. (What, you thought fish got out to use little fishy portaloos?)
So let’s stop worrying about bodily fluids, which you can never completely avoid, and focus on what can actually make you sick — mostly germs like Cryptosporidium that are transmitted through diarrhoea.
There are a few things you can do to avoid getting sick from Crypto and its pals: keep yourself and kids out of the water if you or they have diarrhoea, be vigilant about water chemistry for any pool you maintain and just to be safe, never swallow the water you swim in. Germs are a small but real risk. Is the fun of swimming worth it? For most of us, yes.