The Real Reason You Get Red Eyes After Swimming Is Gross

Illustration for article titled The Real Reason You Get Red Eyes After Swimming Is Gross

If you get bloodshot eyes after you take a dip in a swimming pool, know that it’s not chlorine to blame. It’s something far more disgusting! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would like you to know that those red, itchy eyes were caused by someone’s pool pee.


“Chlorine binds with all the things it’s trying to kill from your bodies, and it forms these chemical irritants. That’s what’s stinging your eyes. It’s the chlorine binding to the urine and the sweat,” CDC program leader Michael J. Beach told Women’s Health.

This mixture is called chloramine, and Beach noted that it’s also the reason you get a cough around swimming pools, since its chloramine that irritates the lungs. Some types of chloramine are used as drinking water disinfectants, but the type that develops after someone crop-dusts a pool with their ball sweat is different.

If every damn swimming pool you go to gives you scratchy eyes, the bad news continues. A Water Quality and Healthy Council survey found that almost one in five Americans admits to letting it rip in pools. And when people don’t take soap showers before they enter pools, they bring sweat and body oil into the pool that also creates chloramine.

[Women’s Health via Quartz]

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Hang one of these signs up and all will be well. Problem solved.