We all know that everyone pees in the pool, but with all the chlorine they add to swimming pools, it’s not that bad, right? Not exactly, according to the CDC. Yes, chlorine is added to prevent the spread of germs, but the folks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the stuff that comes off swimmers’ bodies is still a concern. Yep, we’re talking about pee, poop, sweat, dirt and such.

It turns out these contaminants can actually decrease the amount of chlorine available to kill germs, plus they create chemical irritants called “chloramines.” If a pool doesn’t have a strong chemical smell, it’s most likely a healthy chlorinated pool. But when you think you’re smelling chlorine, it’s probably those chloramines, which can be a big problem in indoor pools that aren’t as ventilated.

But it’s not just the smell that’s an issue. Breathing in chloramines or coming into contact with them can lead to:

  • Nasal irritation, coughing, wheezing
  • Triggered asthma attacks
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Skin irritation and rashes

The CDC says you can help prevent these chemical irritants by “keeping pee, poop, sweat, and dirt out of the water!” They also advise not swimming when you have diarrhea (excuse me while I throw up in my mouth), wearing a swimming cap in the water, and rinsing off in the shower before jumping in.

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