Possible reactions to chlorine at swimming pools

Many people that go swimming into chlorinated pools are not concerned too much about the chemicals into the pool as long as the water looks clear and pristine. Just because the pool looks inviting doesn’t necessarily mean it can be harmless. Pool chemistry has many affects beyond just dying your favourite luxury swimwear a lighter colour.

There are various bodily reactions that can occur after spending time in a swimming pool. Always bear in mind that swimming pools require chemical treatment such as chlorine to prevent the spread of diseases. Several potential health risks are likely to occur upon exposure to chlorine-treated water in swimming pools.

What are the actual culprits?

Even though swimmers simply assume that the presence of chlorine in the swimming pool is causing distress, the actual culprits are the by-products from the disinfection process. The adverse reactions experienced by swimmers are due to poor pool maintenance and inadequate ventilation in indoor swimming pools.

Causes of burning eyes

The symptoms of pool sensitivity tend to vary. The usual issues that arise after exposure to water treated with chlorine includes burning eyes, irritated nasal passages and itchy skin.

Always bear in mind that the chemical has the tendency to interact with ammonia from urine contamination to generate various types of chloramines. It is important to note that dichloramine is usually produced by interaction of chlorine and ammonia which has a pungent odor and triggers skin and eye irritation in some individuals. In addition, nitrogen dichloride which is another by-product of chlorine’s interaction with ammonia can trigger irritation of the lungs and the nasal membranes.


The usual issues that arise after exposure to water treated with chlorine includes burning eyes, irritated nasal passages and itchy skin.

What must be done?

Maintaining proper balance in the pool is the key in minimizing pool-related allergic reactions. The water pH levels play a vital role in disinfection and comfort. The suitable pH level falls between 7.2-7.8. If it is higher, it prevents the disinfection capabilities of chlorine while a lower level creates a harsh environment for swimmers.

The adequate level of the chemical also helps prevent reactions as well as possible infection. Oddly, low levels of chlorine can trigger reactions more often than too much chlorine since free chlorine disables some of the by-product irritants. If the individual experiences discomfort while swimming in indoor pools, issues can be avoided by switching facilities or opting for an outdoor pool. It is also recommended to wear nose clips as well as showering after workouts using specialized shampoos and soaps.

Disinfectant quality of chlorine

There are certain causal relationships between reactions to pool chemicals and asthma remains uncertain. The lung irritation can occur as a result of inhaling chemicals that hovers just above the surface of the water.

Considerations to bear in mind

Many swimmers who suffer from the potential side effects of pool disinfection must balance their love for swimming with the potential downsides. The possible risks for water-borne diseases in public swimming pools are high which is why the chemical is still an effective solution.