What Makes Your Eyes Turn Red At The Pool? It's Not Chlorine, And The Reality Is So, So Much Worse
As someone who grew up in the deep South, believe me when I say that pools are one of mankind's greatest inventions. That being said, they're kind of a germophobe's worst nightmare — even if you ignore the possibility of a Code Brown (yep, that's what you think it is) or ear infection, have you thought about what makes your eyes turn red after swimming? If you assumed it was irritation from the chlorine, I have some bad news. Take care, people, because the following information isn't for the faint of heart.
According to Women's Health, the reason your eyes turn itchy and red after getting in the pool isn't simply thanks to a lifeguard who got overzealous when adding chlorine. In fact, it's "quite the opposite," Michael J. Beach, Ph.D. told the magazine. According to Beach, who is also associate director of the CDC's Healthy Water program, chlorine isn't irritating on its own; rather, it forms irritants when it binds to all the gross stuff your body releases into the water. "That’s what’s stinging your eyes. It’s the chlorine binding to the urine and the sweat," he said.Oh yeah, and the reason you cough so much at an indoor pool? It's because you're inhaling that ever-so-delicious cloud of urine, sweat, and chlorine, which gets trapped in your lungs and makes you cough.
But wait, there's more! Beach told Women's Health that you don't just have to worry about the gross-out factor. The rate of disease outbreaks from swimming pools has increased recently thanks to a new parasite that has evolved so it can't be killed by chlorine. Thankfully, the CDC has guidelines to prevent you from getting sick or transmitting disease if you're already under the weather. They boil down to taking a shower before swimming and holding in your bodily functions, but you can read them in detail at the CDC website.
I told you this wasn't for the weak-hearted. I hope you've already worn all your new bikinis this season, because I'm certainly never getting in the pool again after this.
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