Disgusting reasons why your kid has red eyes after swimming

Disgusting reasons why your kid has red eyes after swimming

Chlorine alone is not the culprit for those red eyes after swimming in a pool. The real reason is pretty disgusting, mums. Read and find out!

red eyes after swimming

Do you know the real reason behind why your child has red eyes after swimming?

You know how your child has red eyes after swimming and how you’ve always thought it’s the chlorine in the pool that does this? Well, according to a report by the United States’ Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s not the chlorine per se that makes a swimmer’s eyes red — it’s urine and other undesirables, like sweat!

In a Women’s Health article, Dr. Michael Beach, associate director of the CDC’s Health Water programme busts the popular “chlorine causes red eyes” myth:

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.

red eyes after swimming

What’s wrong with this picture? Most things actually! Babies should always wear swim diapers when in a public pool and you should certainly not be squirting pool water in your little one’s eyes, neither should you be taking pool water into your own mouth!

If you think there are barriers to prevent pool pee-ers, such as the dye that changes colour when urine is present, Dr. Beach busts that myth too. He says it is just about “scaring people into not urinating in the pool.”

It gets even more disgusting though. In the US, there has been an increase in the number of disease outbreaks at public swimming pools. This is due to adults, kids and babies swimming in pools while they have diarrhea.

It’s bad enough that the parasite Cryptosporidium, which can cause diarrhea, can take over 10 days to be killed off by chlorine. Dr. Beach explains that now, there are new parasitic diarrhea-causing germs emerging that are immune to chlorine.

An adult or child doesn’t have to literally poo in the pool to contaminate the water. They could just have the germs on their bodies, which get washed off in the pool. And “if you’re talking about thousands of people using the same pool, those germs can really add up,” says Dr. Beach.

Parents, before you panic and decide to stop your child’s swimming class, keep in mind that the National Environmental Agency Singapore (NEA) in their Code of Practice on Environmental Health publication has very clear-cut criteria regarding the design and maintenance of swimming pools in Singapore.

On the next page, some great tips about pool hygiene for kids, for parents to keep in mind. 

red eyes after swimming

Mums, always ensure your little ones wear goggles when swimming in a public pool.

It’s good to keep in mind the following basic, yet important hygiene and safety measures before sending your little ones to the pool:

  • Make sure your child uses goggles, especially when using public swimming pools. Goggles will protect your little one’s eyes from nasty chlorine-pee combination chemical reactions
  • Always shower your kids before and after they get into the pool, in order to wash off any dirt and germs from their bodies
  • Encourage your children to use the bathroom before getting into the pool
red eyes after swimming

Never let your little one swallow pool water.

  • Do not send your child to the pool if he has diarrhoea
  • Always put special swim diapers on your young children, which will contain the urine if they pee while swimming
  • Discourage your child from swallowing pool water
  • Take your kids on regular bathroom breaks. Do not let them run into the bathroom without shoes. It’s best if you can get them to take a quick shower again before re-entering the pool
  • Check your little one’s swim diapers often, and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area–not near the pool–to keep germs away from the pool
  • If you are taking your child to an indoor pool, ensure it is well ventilated. When chlorine binds to urine and sweat in a poorly ventilated indoor pool, the trapped chemical reaction can irritate your child’s lungs

Parents, do you have any pool hygiene tips of your own to add to our list? Do share them with us by leaving a comment below. 

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